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Observations on Target's new concept store

  • Opinion
  • April 17, 2015
  • Lisa Douglas
Observations on Target's new concept store

To say I was like a kid in a candy store is an understatement. The new Target concept store articulates all the required shopper touch points and sets a very high standard for big box value retailers to follow. I’m excited.

So what makes it so special? Here are 5 key observations:

1.    Great store layout

2.    50 shades of grey

3.    Functional flexible fixtures

4.    Inspiration touch points

5.    Value messaging 

Ok, let’s get down to detail.

1.    Great store layout

The defined aisle racetrack is gone, but not forgotten. Fixtures are well positioned on the smart polished concrete floor and a clear pathway still directs you effectively around the store to each department.  Yes, departments do exist but are not defined by changes in flooring finishes.

This gives Target total flexibility with store layout with no restriction as to:

·       Easy expansion or contraction of departments

·       Introduction of new categories

·       Seasonal implementations

·       Major marketing or promotional events

Range to space requirements can be flexed seasonally, with little expense.

Fixtures are cleverly positioned to face the customer traffic flow from all angles while still maintaining a logical grid type layout.

The vastness of the big box retail space is masterfully segmented into more intimate zones through the placement of mid floor walls and free standing store in store box fixture configurations that anchor categories and brands – without blocking sight lines through the store.

LOVE it.

2.    50 shades of Grey

The stark white walls used in the last decade as a base for many department store retailers are gone and replaced with a subtle and sophisticated palette of warm greys that are offset by the polished concrete, maple and oak timber finishes.  All of which means the Target red in key locations at entrance and service areas punches out and helps you to navigate your way to assistance.

Lit navigation signage and black and white imagery helps to define department locations through personality. This use of imagery is a departure from the staged shots of product in brand colours that are widely used by big box retail to define departments currently.

The result is sophisticated, warm and welcoming.

3.    Functional, flexible fixturisation

Gondolas and apparel racks are standard and key to volume product presentation. There are a few key types consistently used throughout the store and they are tricked up with maple finishes and black powder coating in key areas which adds interest but not high costs.

Mid floor walls are designed to accommodate product and displays, body forms or mannequins, imagery, navigation and category POS and pricing.  All types have a consistent ‘frame’ set up that ensures more open sight lines.

Having a suite of flexible fixturing that allows easy and cost effective seasonal updates or new brand overlays to freshen the in store experience, rather than relying on hardwired store design features to bring the experience to life, is key to a cost effective retail experience. 

4.    Inspiration touchpoints

Make it easy for me. I see it, I buy it.

It’s critical for all retailers to plan product inspiration points to bring the merchandise strategy to life.

Target’s inspiration locations are well planned at entrances to departments and in key sight lines at end of aisles.

In 'Home,' the inspiration zones are linked cohesively to a strong marketing strategy (own brand ranges and trending interiors) to ensure trends are distilled and made easy for me. I can buy with confidence.

In fashion there is a clear ‘see it, buy it’ set up. This is critical to ensure displays translate to sales but so often poorly executed. Not in Target.  All fashion displays have product available for sale adjacent to the set up. Perfect.

5.    Value messaging

Last but not least; the value messaging component.

No matter how engaging a shopping experience has been created with good store design, fixtures or brand touch-points, you still have to get over that final hurdle and convert to sales. Lots and lots of sales.

The pricing strategy, with strong rounded numbers and large price point POS support (digital and print), highlights quality, abundant stock.   The bulk presentation of key value essentials and fashion components is well delivered, across all departments.

This only added to my excitement as Target showcased a new brand experience direction that I really liked, at price points I loved.

$280 dollars later and a very full suitcase, I was converted.

Job done. Well done Target.

​ ​

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