Target CEO visiting customer’s homes (for real)

Target getting up close and personal with its changing customer base

Got skeletons in your closet? Target CEO Brian Conwell will take a peek.

And by skeletons, we’re talking blazers, Tupperware and towels.

Going beyond the soccer mom

Conwell is interested about anything from wardrobe choices to kitchen supplies to get a more intimate look at the shopping decisions of urban-centric Hispanic millennials, the demographic that the country’s No. 2 discount retailer has been working to attract beyond the suburban mom customer base that has traditionally inhabited the store.

Creative competition

While the idea of house visits is equal parts weird and endearing, it’s definitely a creative approach to getting to know your customer in an old-fashioned way.

And it’s not the corporation’s only New Year’s resolution.

To compete with online retailers like Amazon.com, Conwell announced that Target plans to hire 1,000 specialty IT workers, half in the U.S. and half in Bangalore, India, to upgrade its website and mobile operations.

What happened to Target?

Pre-recession, Target stood out from its main competitors Wal-Mart and K-Mart.

The company slogan “Expect more. Pay less.” embodied its appeal, catering to the low-income shopper looking for trendy brands or the upscale shopper looking for a deal. Clean and well-designed stores sold hip, affordable products.

Target was never shy to identify its core customer base back then: the “Boomer Mom” who “drives a mini-van” and “wants it all.”

Post-recession, the company changed its focus and shifted its strategy to emphasize rock-bottom prices – and it wasn’t successful. Last year in March, Conwell stated that the company had lost its “brand balance,” what originally had made it unique.

Conwell – who was hired on as CEO in Aug. 2014  – wants that brand novelty back and bigger than ever, and his plans to continue to cater to a more diverse customer base should help.

Target’s relationship with the young Hispanic millennial

54 percent of Hispanic millennials that shop at Target identified the store as their favorite, a stark increase from 38 percent of Target shoppers overall, according to the Washington Post.
Target took this information and used it for advertising purposes in a smart way: By incorporating the brand into Jane the Virgin, a telenovela-style hit TV series about a young woman who gets pregnant from an accidental insemination.

I’ve only seen two episodes of the show and never noticed, but Jane really, really likes to shop at Target. There’s scenes filmed in Target stores and definite product placement, but it all seems natural and relatable (or so Target claims).

A partnership with a popular Netflix show last year, and personal home visits this year (Netflix and Chill, anyone? Just kidding.) Cornell’s trying hard to make Target relevant. What’s next up his sleeve?

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