A Look at the Customer Experience at Target's Next-Gen Stores
Target is in the midst of remodeling more than 1,000 of its retail stores across the U.S. to meet growing shopper demand for an evolved customer experience, but no two stores will look alike. However, the retailer has developed a bucket of next-gen features to pull from and one distinctive attribute will remain. Stores with dual entrances will boast one entry point designed around “ease” and the other around “inspiration.” As Target seeks to cater to convenience, “ease” entrances boast Drive Up parking spaces, online Order Pickup counters, self-checkout lanes and grab-and-go grocery and essentials.
The retailer expects to be finished by the end of 2020 and complete more than 300 this year. So far Target has completed 56 remodels in its first quarter of 2018 and has already launched well over 100 more that will be completed in the second quarter. In Q1 Target completed more than double the number of remodels it delivered a year ago and the company continues to see incremental 2% to 4% sales lifts in stores following the completion of a remodel.
Target's efforts to evolve its store shopping experience is no cookie cutter approach. Each remodel is approached with a customized combo of enhancements available from its next generation stores. The enhancements combine Target's digital and technology upgrades, elevated merchandise presentations and fulfillment services to make shopping faster and more enjoyable.
Joe Contrucci, senior vice president of stores, and Joe Perdew, vice president of store design recently answered questions about the remodels in Target's blog.
When asked how Target determines which enhancements each store gets, Perdew noted, "It’s like a blank canvas each time. We have to use all of our assets—the building spaces, fixtures, interior design, lighting, products—to tell a story and make the whole shopping trip as easy and inspiring as possible for guests."
Contrucci added factors such as where each store is located and what the neighborhood around it needs most come into play.
"We count on our local store teams to help us understand exactly what their guests want so we can build relevant experiences around that," he said. "And we’re always testing, learning and adjusting, so the whole process keeps evolving and getting even better as we go."
STORE DESIGN FOR THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Some of Target's modernized stores will feature a renovated Starbucks near the entrance for convenient coffee grabs. Other changes to the retail experience include brighter lighting and a more modern feel.
"We add concrete floors and wood-plank walls to some stores, incorporate materials like steel and glass and a pop of Target red into the décor, and use pendant and circular lighting treatments with energy-saving LED lights," said Perdew. "And those are just a few examples—all to create a warm and inviting experience that’s hip and cool."
Enhanced merchandise displays will create ‘shops’ throughout the store. Some stores will get a center aisle treatment that winds through the middle of the store with displays at varying heights to make them more eye-catching. The beauty department looks more like a specialty shop and in the home department products will be displayed in lifestyle settings to help shoppers imagine what they would look like in their own homes.
In conjunction with the remodels, Target has dedicated hundreds of "thousands of payroll hours" to train employees in specialized roles and develop their expertise to better serve shoppers. Since stores are staying open during the remodel process Contrucci said Target teams are going through special trainings to help keep disruption to a minimum while the work is underway.
"Taking care of our team is so important, because they’re the ones who bring our guests those exceptional experiences every day," he noted.