Shares of Target Corporation have risen following good fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 performance together with an upbeat fiscal 2019 view. This Minneapolis-based company did well over the holiday period.
While there was major growth with online sales, retail analysts also noted the growth in sales at physical stores, bucking a trend seen with other department stores. This increase is attributable to the retailer’s investments in in-store redesign, convenient delivery options and private-label brands.
Target’s case study presents lessons for retailer, in terms of building a strong on-line presence, tuned to the customer; and also with ensuring that stores remain attractive and that higher-value products are displayed well, supported by knowledgeable staff.
Analysis undertaken by Scott Webb, president of Avionos in relation to retail trends in general, has found that 63 percent of consumers prefer to purchase big-ticket items (that is items like electronics and furniture) in a physical store. In terms of online activity, while 52 percent indicated that say they prefer to research these devices on desktop or mobile devices.
In terms of how retailers can attract online consumers, 54 percent of consumers noted they feel more confident in their online purchases if the retailer offers detailed product specifications. As a further good practice, 53 percent of consumers feel more confident if the product has a user-friendly return policy.
In terms of data sharing, 32 percent of consumers say they would be more open to sharing personal information if it meant brands and retailers could better anticipate their needs. This involves building up a trust relationship between the retailer and the consumer.
Target itself suffered from a major data breach and needed to put considerable efforts into rebuilding consumer trust. Target was required to pay an $18.5 million multistate settlement in order to resolve state investigations of the 2013 cyber-attack that affected more than 41 million of the company’s customer payment card accounts.
It was also found that 70 percent of consumers are most likely to make an impulse purchase in a physical store. This finding means that stores need to attract customers to stores, encourage an in-store browsing experience, and then display merchandise appropriately.
For major retailers, the Target experience suggests that a dual-model remains very viable – physical stores and online, but that consumers in general will be seeking different things from each and this needs to be clearly factored in to the marketing strategy.