Tag Archives: Target

CETW Keynote #1 – Inside Target’s Multi-channel Strategy

Chris Borek from Target – “Bull’s-eye!  Keeping your eye on the Target – Successful Strategies of Customer Engagement Technologies”

Key ingredients for the theme of this show – Engagement & Technology

Engagement is all about emotion – want to spark something that enables  the consumer to “feel” – favorable attention

Experience is a little bit different – it’s a touchpoint, not a feeling, but the “type” of experience (good or bad) dictates what kind of emotion (engagement) will be felt

Target looks at Engagement as – “Helping our guests find things, learn about things, and ultimately buy things.”

Strategies for How Target Engages Guests:

  • Consider the environment – physical space
  • Challenge assumptions + Evolve
  • Go Where “She” (target audience) is…but don’t stalk her.  Mobile – enable shopping anywhere, anytime – they call mobile a “bring your own kiosk.”  Doing lots of things w/ mobile including coupons and an app.  Simplicity, functionality, utility are the keys to mobile success.  (Good!)  Social – She’s there, they’re there.  He talked about some of their learnings in the social space – same ol’, same ol’ – it’s an ongoing/never-ending conversation
  • Listen & Learn – What does your audience want?  “Video Game Learning Center” – answers some of the needs from their target audience (I just wonder how much “she” is using this??)  Her needs are all about easy and fun.  Is she intimidated by these touch screens?
  • Wow ‘em – 8.18.10 – held a Kaleidosopic Fashion Spectactular.  Looks very cool – used the side of a building to showcase models/new fashion line – made a big spectacle out of it in NYC.  Target gave away some branded binoculars – nice event.  Check it out:
  • Let her drive – Consumers are becoming more and more empowered to have personal experiences – IMO and I’ve talked often about this – this is going to be a conscious expectation of the consumer before too long.  My Merona – can piece together a fashion look/outfit that she might like (on FB page)  My Target Weekly – piece together your own circular based on the regular, weekly Target circular (on FB page) – can filter deals you want and then the coupons.  And it keeps a history so it grows over time.
  • Leverage that media!
  • Collaborate + Stay true to your core

Nut – Target understands their target (couldn’t help that one) audience and their story.  These 2 key components enable them to tell their story across multiple platforms in a compelling way.  They are really pushing the limits in trying to understand all of the channels in today’s landscape and to their credit, using them, even if it’s experimentation.

Word of the session – Cheap Chic

Will the Holidays Save QR Codes?

First, SXSW.  Then, Facebook.  Then, NYC.  Now, it looks like the holidays are bringing QR codes with them.  It’s the time of the year when we receive loads of holiday circulars and it all started this past week.  I like these magazine-type circulars.  I like looking through them to see the sales and this year, at least, I like to see if the brands are making any effort to drive consumers deeper into the brand experience.  Well, judging by what I saw this week, they’re jumping all over the opportunity.

First, it was Best Buy.  I opened it up (I take as many opportunities as I can to remind my wife where she can get me an iPad), and the first thing I see is a big, fat QR code staring me in the face.  This really didn’t surprise me because I’ve noticed that Best Buy is now printing QR codes on all of their shelf price labels.

Best Buy QR Codes

Then, it was Target.  We’re on the lookout to help Santa, so of course, I had to see what kind of contribution Target could make.  And, bam, right there, 3 on 1 page.  I started to get real excited at this point, scanning codes, talking to myself, kind of freaking my family out.

Target QR Codes

And then, because I felt like we were on a roll with finding these little treasures, when I got our Geico newsletter/magazine, I just knew they had to be using them in some way.  So, I opened it up, and sure enough, QR codes sprinkled throughout.

Geico QR Codes

This whole 3-day experience really brought to light a few things for me, all of which made me happy:

  1. Brands (and the agencies supporting them) know what QR codes are.
  2. They’re not afraid to expose them to any type of consumer (tech, toys, insurance.)
  3. They’re taking the opportunity to drive consumers into a deeper brand experience.

I think these basic fundamental acknowledgements are important because it shows a level of comfort, from a brand’s standpoint, to introduce these codes to consumers, in such a mass-visibility way.  I suspect there is a little bit of experimentation going on, but they’re exposing them nonetheless.  Next question is whether or not consumers will know what to do with these.  I wonder how far off I really am – along with the general consumer – in expecting these codes to be included in print pieces like this?  By the time I got to the Geico magazine, I expected them to include QR codes.  And they did.

So, I believe sooner rather than later, consumers will expect these crazy-looking codes to be in magazines like this and perhaps more print pieces than not.  By seeing them in this type of collateral and on windows of their local businesses and at airports, they’re going to know that they can “unlock” some sort of information.  It’s really the “payoff” now – the content on the other end – that is going to drive expectations and perceived value.  The content is certainly more important than the code, but we have to start with the code and getting consumers familiar with them.

We’ve implemented quite a few code-based initiatives this year and have learned from each one of them.  Here are some best practices that we follow:

  1. Before creating the codes, understand what you are going to offer to the consumer once they scan the code.  Is it going to be a mobile version of your site?  Is it going to be a video?  Is it going to be a text?  Is it going to be a VCard?  You must answer this question before you get into creating the actual code.
  2. Creating the codes is the easy part.  We’ve used Kaywa and I’ve seen ScanLife a lot lately.  It’s a simple process, just follow the directions with whichever service you’re going to use.
  3. Understand where the code is going to be placed, when printed.  Is it going to be circular like this?  Or is it going to be on a poster?  Or is it going to be on a magazine ad?  You’ll need to include instructions for consumers to understand what it is and how to actually use it.  What kind of piece it’s going to be printed on will dictate the amount of instructional information you can include.  At the very least, let consumers know that they can a) scan the code for something else (more content, special offers, etc…) and b) how to do it.  This includes telling them what QR code reader application they need on their smartphone and that they need to take a picture of the code.
  4. If you have the means to use/implement a text messaging service, it would give the consumer another way to “unlock” the information without scanning a code.  Include this option in your instructions.
  5. Let consumers know – very clearly – what they can expect by scanning the code.  This can be a simple text description next to the code.
  6. And finally, if at all possible, make sure the content offered up on the “other side of the code” is appropriate to experience on a mobile phone.  If you can help it, don’t send them to the regular .com.  Send them to the mobile version of the site or even directly to a Vimeo/YouTube playlist.  The more valuable the content on the other side is, the more value consumers will perceive to be behind these codes.

QR codes are an ideal technology to enable the offline and the online to converge.  They’re so simple to create, if you have the wherewithal to use them and good content to use, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t include the codes on all of your printed pieces.  It’s good to see so many brands using them.  At the beginning of the year, I don’t feel like anyone really knew what QR codes were, certainly not the average consumer.  But if these holiday circulars are any sign of the times, it hasn’t taken long to learn.

Out & About: Target’s Gaming Touch Screen

I heard Chris Borek from Target speak at the Digital Signage Expo earlier this year and walked away from it impressed with their approach to serving customers – “it’s about interacting with the customer on their (the customer’s) terms, on their schedule.  It’s not about being there all the time, it’s about being there when they need it.”  So, I was not surprised when, over the weekend, I saw this touchscreen in the middle of their electronics/gaming section.  Apparently, they’re planning a full chain roll-out with these babies.

Let’s put her to the test and see how she does.

Purpose – They are here to sell games.  They’re providing this solution to make it easier for you to a) search for the game you want b) search for the game you don’t know you want c) find the most convenient store for you to get it at and d) get the information in the form you want.  This experience delivers on all fronts.  If I were looking for a game, I would go straight to this touchscreen vs. a store employee, but that’s just me.  If I was intimidated by this touchscreen and wanted the comfort of a store employee, that employee could walk me straight to this and step through the experience with me (hopefully, that’s what they’re trained to do.)  In that regard, it even levels the playing field for all of those employees – now they don’t need to know about every game in the store.  The technology serves that purpose and allows the employee to focus on the customer.

Drama – As you can see, this touchscreen was built into the display unit and it all looks very nice.  You can tell they spent a lot of time thinking this through and designing the entire unit, not just the touchscreen.  I don’t know how they could have done a better job with placement, although it would have been much more noticeable if it were right on the main aisle.  (As it is, it’s hidden behind the display unit on the main aisle.)  Once I noticed it, the subtle animation and large text with prominent call-to-action made me want to interact with it and set my expectations on exactly what I needed to do.  In my opinion, they made a good decision with the vertical monitor – it creates more of a dramatic impact than the same size horizontal monitor and for this type of information, I think it makes for a better use of space.

Usability – The interface was set up very much like a web interface.  In some respects, it mirrors Target’s online experience, certainly the way in which the content was bucketed.  I didn’t have a problem finding the information I wanted.  In some cases, there were multiple ways to get to the same content, which I think is good.  And regardless of where I was in the experience, I could always “Go Back” Home and “Notify an Employee.”  It’s great (and smart) to have those anchors.  I think it makes the user feel comfortable that they can always get the information that they ultimately want, even if it isn’t through this touchscreen experience.

Interactivity – This experience was touch-based with email & mobile integration.

The screen was responsive to touch and aside from the internet connection (which I suspect is needed to utilize their web content management system), I thought the experience itself was fluid and smooth.  The email & text component was simple and provided only the information I needed in either of those channels.

Information – All games, all systems, all accessories, all the time.  The content here is hooked into Target’s chain-wide inventory, so if the store that you’re in doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can locate it at the stores closest to you.  In addition to the product information, they worked in a social component via user reviews.  That said, I couldn’t find any user reviews in the games that I searched (which I think can be easily remedied with some seeded content), but it might have just been by chance that those specific games didn’t have reviews.  This application didn’t seem to have any un-needed information and it didn’t seem to lack any either.  Everything in here seemed purposeful.

Personalization – There wasn’t much personalization in this experience, but there was more than in the touchscreens that I’ve previously featured.  The email and mobile component was a nice, personal touch and a step in the right direction to make the experience personal.  I think they have the opportunity to build user’s profiles, recommend content based on previous purchases, incorporate a loyalty-type program – all might not be appropriate for the everyday consumer, but would certainly help Target compete with stores like GameStop with the hardcore gamers.

All in all, this was a very good, efficient application.  One of the best I’ve seen, and certainly the best touchscreen that I’ve featured here.  Why other game stores and movie stores (like Blockbuster) and music stores don’t do this more, I just don’t understand, especially if they’ve already got a good system online.  I think anyone who’s considering building/updating a retail-based interactive application should go to their nearest Target and play around with this for a little while – you’ll learn alot.