5. Design an experience: Target
It’s easy to forget that Target is a discount store. With its sleek, stylish ad campaigns and collaborations with high-end designers who create limited-edition merchandise that sends fashionistas into a frenzy, Target’s public face often belies its mass-merchant status.
Further distinguishing it from its superstore brethren, Target consistently delivers an exceptional retail experience–from store design to merchandise selection to price and customer service.
“Target makes a real effort to provide an enjoyable shopper experience, but you still get quality merchandise at a good price,” says branding consultant Rob Frankel. “As part of their brand persona, they make an effort to be warm and human, and that resonates with people and drives them to embrace it.”
Thanks to easy-to-maneuver layouts and a consistent design, Target’s retail outlets are easy and intuitive places to shop, giving customers confidence they will be able to find what they want, even on a vast selling floor. “It’s not only more pleasant than their competitors; people actually enjoy being there,” Frankel says.
Target customers also appreciate the brand’s ability to design attractive yet affordable merchandise–most notably, an ever-changing array of trendy clothing and home accessories. “Target says [it’s] going to give you a decent alternative that can hold up against more expensive fashion brands,” Frankel says.
Customer service is friendly and consistent, as several survey respondents noted, from the way “cashiers look for people in line and direct them to a less crowded line,” to the perceptions that “they always have enough employees in the store at one time” and that “their customers are considered guests.”
Frankel says businesses should recognize that providing a warm, human experience will foster the kind of trust that lets them command higher margins, drive traffic and enjoy better brand perception than their competitors. “No matter what you sell, if you don’t give people a reason to go, they’re not going to figure it out by themselves, because price alone just doesn’t do it,” he says.
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