Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar to you. You go into Target for three mundane items that should only cost you maybe ten bucks: Silly things like shampoo, shaving cream, and a birthday card. However, an hour later you walk out a hundred dollars lighter and the proud owner of two new shirts, new bed sheets, that DVD of your favorite show that you forgot you never got for Christmas, and a new trash can for your kitchen. What is it about this store that turns us into crazed shoppers piling things into our carts without giving it a second thought?
I’m sure there are some psychological reasons regarding increased dopamine levels when we get that taste of “shopper’s high.” However, I’m in the mood to point fingers at someone else besides myself and I think Target is to blame. They seem to know their stuff about prying open wallets farther than we hoped because of their awesome business techniques. Let’s take a look-see at what they’re doing right.
Reasons Why Target is Awesome:
- They logically display their products to make finding the item you’re looking for quick and painless, which means no salespeople need to walk around. You want the latest CD from your favorite band? Head on over to Electronics and peruse the CD racks. Need laundry detergent? Head on over to the Grocery section and there are shelves filled from top to bottom with every brand imaginable (more on that point later). You’d have to actually use more effort to not find what you’re looking for than to use that effort to find it.
- They have competitive prices that, while maybe not the lowest in town, are certainly cheaper than other retail stores. They run weekly sales that are too good to pass up depending on what the product is. Plus, their dollar section provides entertainment no matter if you have five dollars or twenty dollars in your pocket. Target has something for every customer to look at and possibly purchase!
- Their locations are convenient because they stick to major roads when they build. Instead of building out in the middle of a cornfield that is five or six roads off a major intersection, Target sticks to where customers can easily find them. All you have to do is look for that giant red bull’s eye and you’ve found them.
- The flow inside Target stores makes it difficult to just run in and run out, which is great for them but bad for our wallets. Ladies, how many times have you walked past the Women’s department in order to get to the shoe section without something catching your eye? Whether it’s a sale on sweaters or a cute shirt, the way you walk through their stores to get somewhere makes you want to stop and browse.
- Unlike other stores, Target doesn’t just have one brand of an item, but they’ll have all the major brands to choose from. Using an earlier mentioned example of laundry detergent, they literally have every single brand imaginable lining their shelves. Unlike their competition that may only have two or three brands, Target wants you to find exactly the brand you love using.
BONUS! Their Sunday ads are bright and exciting and get people to pay attention to their sale on laundry detergent because of their artsy-yet-relatable photo shoots. Target’s Sunday newspaper ad is a must-read for many people, not only because of the deals they’re offering but also because of their fun approach that makes it enjoyable to read the entire ad from cover to cover. They’re clean and streamlined and not cluttered.
What You Can Apply:
- Make sure it’s easy to find the products your customers are looking for. Clean and simple displays go a lot further than displays with a lot of bells and whistles on them.
- You don’t have to be the cheapest in town, but make sure other things make up for the slightly higher price customers are paying. Having a clean and properly lit store will go a lot further with your customers than paying the absolute lowest price but feeling like they’re shopping in a dark and dingy basement.
- Build where your customers are, not necessarily only where the rent or land is cheapest. If customers can’t find your location, then what’s the point of being in business? If there’s an existing store that attracts people and is not a direct competitor, then let them draw people to your store as a result of visiting their store.
- No matter how big or small your store is, it’s important to make sure it’s maneuverable for customers to walk around without knocking over displays. Aisles and designated walkways are a great way to give clues to customers where they should be walking.
- Give your customers variety with the product offerings you have. Too many choices will leave people overwhelmed, but not enough choices and they’ll go somewhere else that allows them to comparison shop. Some people go for the cheapest with the fewest product options, while others go for the most expensive because they feel that you get what you pay for. Satisfy all these theories and you’ll be golden!
- Bright and eye-catching advertisements will not only show off your products, but they’ll also keep your customer interested in what you’ve got. Keep your ads clean and uncluttered so that people can easily read your information or clearly see your products. Don’t worry if your logo isn’t 4” x 6” on every page; if you’ve done a good job with your ad, people will actively search for which company this ad belongs to.
What Target is doing isn’t rocket science, but to a small business it can sure seem like it. Hopefully, these tips can help you become more successful and get customers to open up their wallets a bit more than they were planning on. Good luck!
Can you think of anything else that Target gets right? Maybe something they need to improve on? What’s the most you’ve spent at Target without planning on it? Please share in the comments below!