Student Story: Re-Thinking Retail

Colin Rouser of Target and Retail Leadership Symposium Students

Consumer Science 250: Retail Leadership Symposium

On September 20th, the Retail Leadership Symposium Class welcomed guest speaker Colin Rouser, Senior Campus Recruiter, for Target Corporation. Colin shared with us his knowledge and insights about Target as a company and the actions they are taking to adjust their retail strategies and keep up with the ever-changing retail world. Additionally, he explained, that as a company, Target is making an effort to improve their Omni-channel retailing by adding new store formats, growing their supply-chain operations, and changing the way these operations are run. The following will go into detail about the specific changes Target is making and what the company hopes to achieve from these changes.

Target’s Philosophy
Almost anyone who has shopped at a Target store can recall their slogan as “Expect More, Pay Less,” however, not everyone understands the full depth of what this slogan means. For Target, this catchy phrase signifies a multitude of ideas, that encompass both customer and employee life. At Target, customers are called guests and they want their guests to leave their stores with both full carts and full hearts. Target wants each and every one of its customers to be able to use Target as their number one shopping destination for anything they need. Additionally, they want each person to leave their store feeling fulfilled, and as though they were just part of a positive shopping experience, instead of just another trip to the store. Target wants to be continuously changing and innovating, so that they can cater to all guests that walk through their doors. They want to support everyone from the teenager looking for a video game, to the new millennial parent, to the single mom in need. Target makes an effort to celebrate and encourage anyone that needs them, including their employees. For Target, employee happiness is just as important as customer satisfaction. Each and everyone of their employees is treated like a member of the family and with the utmost respect. As a company, Target invests in their employees and works hard to create a team that is happy, healthy, and involved in the community. Target’s philosophy has helped them to experience an extreme amount of success, and will continue to do so as the company thrives into the future.

Target Discount Stores HistoryThe Start of Something New 
As of 2016, Target had over 1,800 stores in 49 states and had over 69.5 billion dollars in sales; however, it took over 55 years of innovation to reach these highs. In 1962, the Dayton brothers opened the first “discount retail store” in Minneapolis and took over a decade to open the first “discount retail store” in Minneapolis and took over a decade to open the second in 1980. Playing along with its nickname, “Targét,” the company adapted the slogan “Expect more. Pay less.” This is a truly accurate description of the corporation’s objectives to provide high quality product at a low price and to provide excellent customer service. From here on, Target embraced their new slogan and continued to provide more for less through the creation of their website, mobile app, and loyalty card in the early 2000’s. These were the company’s first of many developments tailored to their guests needs.

Community Value
Nearly 20 years after the creation of “Expect more. Pay less” Target developed the ideals of the company proclaiming its Five Pillars of Community in 2015. These pillars are innovation, inclusivity, diversity, growth and leadership. As a part of this Target promises to give 5% of profits back to communities. Rouser emphasized this point as he clearly believes in and represents Target’s recruiting slogan “work somewhere you love.” To display this idea Rouser presented this recruiting video showing how Target sees their team members as more than just employees.

Changes in Store Formats
With 1,816 Target stores out there, they are not all going to look the same. Target has multiple store formats such as CityTarget, SuperTarget, Flexible Format Target, and TargetExpress. In July of 2017 Target opened up 4 small-format stores called TargetExpress. These stores are specifically created for college campuses! Finally! These small-format stores are convenient for the average college student, have the perfect assortment, are created for quick shopping trips in between classes. Target plans to operate 130 more small-format stores by 2019. I think we can speak on behalf of the student body when we say we cannot wait for our TargetExpress to come to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Target Express

Target New Store Format

Changes in Supply Chain and How it Connects to Omni-channel Retailing
Target is at the forefront of up-and-coming technologies when it comes to connecting to Omni-channel retailing. Cartwheel, a sub-application within Target’s primary mobile application, provides users with extensive store inventories, information on deals, availability, and lets guests scan products to get more information while in the store.

Target MobileTarget has also revamped their delivery services, now offering same-day delivery. Their supply chain has become more effective as time has gone on. Their team members utilize handheld devices that allow them to take the quickest route through the store to pick up the items that guests have ordered for same-day delivery. By using devices that decrease time from the store to your front door, more customers are likely to buy products using that same-day service.

Differentiating Target
While Target clearly has had booming success in its relatively short history, Rouser stressed that they never stop improving customer service and satisfaction. To improve their ability on the ever growing online shopping front Target now…

  • Allows customers to hold a REDcard
  • Provides a “Cartwheel” app to inform customers of store promotions
  • Offers same day shipping
  • Has developed over 1000 storefronts that ship directly to guests
  • Acquired 50,000 square feet of warehouse space

Rouser vividly and enthusiastically drew out the history of Target. Today, they strive to provide the same service as they have in years past and to continue to serve their customers; demanding enthusiasts, who are digitally connected, love to shop, and demand great value.

Thanks again to Colin Rouser for his impressive presentation. To learn more about the second largest discount store check out https://corporate.target.com for more behind the scenes at Target.


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