Let the heavy shopping bags make their own way to your home
If the shopping can be done via a computer mouse, the user experience should be as good if not better than at Amazon. Target did not shy away from the online giant and is now reaping the fruits of its labour.
On our way home, loaded with shopping bags full of food, cleaning supplies, and other items that will help us get through the week, we don’t usually ask ourselves how our consumer habits are gradually changing. We just want to get the shopping home and unpacked.
But Target is more interested in consumer habits and is modifying its service accordingly. It is the second largest retail chain in the USA, second only to Walmart, but has been around much longer, since 1902, when it was still called Goodfellow Dry Goods. Now, it has 1822 stores across the country, and has also spread across the northern border into Canada. The company also operates on the world wide web, with a website it started in 1999.
When Amazon came out of nowhere, it completely disrupted the business models of many retailers, from supermarkets to bookshops. The space to monitor consumer habits online is limitless – as was Amazon’s wish to become the undisputed ruler of the online world.
Target will deliver a package to its subscribers at a precise fixed time, with no delivery costs and at a discount – anywhere in the USA.
For seven years, Amazon cooperated with Target, with the latter participating in Amazon’s Subscribe & Save programme, which is based on the concept of the subscription economy, offering its customers special benefits for shopping online once they have become subscribers.
Then Target stopped the cooperation, establishing its own online shopping platform, but was still trying to find its footing in introducing a recognisable and successful model. In 2013, it announced a new project, Target Subscriptions. It came late, Amazon and Walmart were both already ahead of the game, but at least this time, the idea was developed to perfection.
First they researched how well they could do selling baby products. And they were pleased. Then they added more products to their online shelves, including food, home and office supplies, and pet treats.
This year, they introduced their own kids’ clothing line, Cat & Jack. They pay special attention to this age group, because they can count on four million potential new customers each year – at least that’s the number of children born every year, and parents who worry about providing a happy childhood usually won’t skimp on things.
Target promises its subscribers that they will receive the ordered shipment exactly at the specified time. What’s more, it will be delivered for free anywhere in the USA, the price of the package will first be reduced by five percent, and then by an additional five percent for subscribers using their REDcard.
They are willing to accommodate those who change their minds and cancel the purchase, even after they’ve already received it.
The American retail chain paid special attention to children and their parents when planning their selection of products for online customers.
Following the example of other subscription economy models, Target also came up with surprise boxes, that subscribers can get delivered to their homes each month.
One was designed especially for parents who want to surprise their children with an art box, including drawing and other arts and crafts supplies; another was made for fans of reading, who can regularly receive books suited to their literary preferences.
A somewhat different approach was chosen for its Beauty Box. Each month, Target selects various cosmetic products, much like for example, Ipsy, but the user doesn’t have to subscribe for a longer period of time – they can simply buy the beauty box each month for seven dollars.
The advantage is not having to browse store shelves, stand in queues, and haul shopping bags around, since the package will come straight to your doorstep. All you have to do is open it.