Years ago it was fun to call the Target Corporation Targe or Tarjay. Something happened in the past two years that has rubbed off the shopping luster at Target. I am not the only one who noticed. Wall Street’s earnings for the Target Corporation were down, again. The mega store is no longer the “mommy time out” it once was or the go to destination for all things kids. What happened? Simple, Target failed to keep with the movement of customer change.
Clothing Was Boring. Plain and simple Target missed the mark on what their core customer wanted. As much as the fashion experts claimed, skinny pants are not for every body shape. After several years of skinny pants and low rider pants, women were feed up with unflattering pants. According to several other fashion retailers this was a customer back lash against an entire industry, not just Target.
Children’s clothing were no better. Many parents complained this season that skirts and dresses were to short. Shorty shorts for girls were inappropriate and Bermuda style shorts were boring. On the boy’s side their graphic tees had little to excite. Target failed to remember that parents still have a say on what kids wear on a daily basis.
Prices Were Not Competitive. In a day of price driven apps and free shipping, brick and mortar stores need to be price competitive on everyday staples. Target was not. Why buy a 20 count roll of paper towels when Amazon has it cheaper and will deliver to your door the next day?
Failed On-Line Shopping. The Target.com website had the same branding profile as the brick and mortar store, but after that it seemed like a different shopping experience. Some items were available only online and must be returned via mail only. Then there was the different price matching policy. To top it all off, if a shopper chose an item online for in-store pick up they had to physically walk into the store. Does that not defeat the purpose of online shopping? Sears nailed this piece of the shopping puzzle with delivery to a car within an hour of order placement.
Bathroom Stall Incident. Initially 1.5 million people pledged they disapproved of Target’s handling of the Transgender bathroom idea. As impressive the number of dissatisfied people were never translates to a long-term impact. Time and time again, boycott actions never effect sales after one quarter and in some cases actually increased sales. Think Chick-Fil-A. Where Target failed was their public relations handling from the fall-out. Instead the corporation dug in their heals and refused to accept a small portion of their customer base was uncomfortable with this change. It took six months to install a gender neutral single stall plan.
Grocery Options. I am not a food expert, but know when a store offers groceries there should be a heck of a lot more than prepackaged goods. Target’s grocery selection had a limited offering of fresh veggies and fruit. The dairy offerings were poor. Umm, is that not what the US government has been after us to eat more of in our diet? Instead the grocery selection was row after row of frozen goodies and boxed snacks. When I walked the aisle all I heard were upright freezer door closings. Slap, slap, slap…..
Quick To Price Reduce. When a corporation starts to slash prices across the board, major changes are happening behind the scenes. This Sunday, Target offered a 10% off storewide/site wide sale. This is never good because shoppers will only buy when things are on sale. That worked short-term for Kohls to establish their brand but now the corporation faced customers who refused to shop without a coupon. Target is quickly moving down this slippery slope. Remember JC Penny tried the tiered pricing based upon the date? Customers only shopped once a month when they knew all prices would be at their lowest. This is a proven path for quick cash and loss of the full-price customer.
I am sure there are many other reasons why Target has failed the past few years. These are my only thoughts as a once frequent shopper.
Do you shop at Target? If so, how often?
Shaorn, The Mayor