The Shops at Target

In the past few years, there has definitely been a trend toward supporting local business–shopping local, eating local, you name it.  For that reason, it’s very “in” to go to charming little shops and boutiques to pick up necessary items.  However, not everyone has a variety of these types of shops to choose from that are within a reasonable walking or driving distance from where they live.  Wouldn’t it be neat if a big chain store could figure out a way to recreate that boutique experience?  Well that’s exactly what Target did this fall with “The Shops at Target.”  They brought the boutiques to the customers–and did a pretty darn good job at it, I must say. You can check it out here.

Basically Target collaborated with several different little boutiques and then co-created different items with them to be carried in Target stores for a limited time.  Scattered around the store, there were these big signs hanging down that said “The Shops at Target,” and below the sign was a little section that would have things from one of the shops.  There was also a little description of the actual real-life shop right in front of the items.  Everything was smartly branded to look very charming and almost folky (a look which is also very “in” right now)–for example, the actual “Shops at Target” logo looked almost like it was handwritten on a chalkboard.  Even though they didn’t exactly replicate the boutique experience, it still felt set apart and special, and one got the feeling that if they bought one of these items, they were supporting small business (while shopping at a big business).

And this is why the people at Target are geniuses.  They saw where people were at and they responded accordingly.  They caught on to the trend of the homespun, local, small boutique and found a way to resemble that in their stores–adapting to fit it as closely as possible, while still staying true to their own business.

Every business could take a couple cues from Target.  First, they need to assess who their target (no pun intended) market is–who are they trying to sell to?  Then, they need to figure out what those people would find attractive, what would make them want to buy the product.  And lastly, they find a way to incorporate the tastes and desires of their target market into their business and the way they market it.  Target knew that a lot of Americans like the look, the feel, and the reality of supporting small, quaint shops, so they catered to that.

Figuring all of this out for one’s business is definitely a challenge, but it is extremely important to appear current and relevant to potential customers.  The opposite of that, looking outdated and disconnected, is not a message that any company should want to send–and it certainly would not bring in more business.