Big retailers have big budgets to experiment with new concepts, and their successes (and failures) can provide smaller businesses with ideas to implement in their own stores. A great example is Target, which reimagined its store experience to appeal to Generation Z customers, launching a scaled-down concept called TargetExpress. The micro-store first opened in 2014 near the University of Minnesota in the retailer’s hometown of Minneapolis, and to date there are 55 across the United States. The company’s announcement that it will expand this concept to 130 locations by 2019 is a sign that getting specific can broaden your bottomline.
TargetExpress was designed to address Gen Zers’ unique shopping pain points, such as long lines, difficult navigation and uninspiring offerings. By appealing to this younger audience, the retailer also hopes to create life-long Target shoppers. If Gen Z is an important audience for you, here are five takeaways you use from TargetExpress to help you connect by creating a more thoughtful customer experience:
1. Provide a Hometown Feel
Just like sports bars add a neighborhood hangout feel by hanging local team jerseys, TargetExpress creates a similar aesthetic by integrating city-specific décor and displays. While Target’s red and white color scheme and logo are used throughout, the San Francisco store, for example, has a mural of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the TargetExpress store near the University of Minnesota proudly sells Gopher gear. Consider adding a local flair to your store through artwork or merchandise. Small retailers can promote their local connections, as well, such as team sponsorships or event participation.
2. Curate Your Merchandise
Since TargetExpress stores are a fraction of the size of its traditional counterpart, stores feature products chosen specifically for local customers. College-area locations may skip family-friendly items such as diapers and toys, offering in-demand products like snacks, health and beauty, electronics and housewares. Stores also sell locally made products, such as local craft beers. Make sure your product assortment matches the needs of your customers. Clear out slow selling items, and minimize your product assortment. Reducing your inventory is smart business, lowering your overhead and freeing up resources.
3. Offer Online Order with In-store Pickup
TargetExpress offers seamless shopping with buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) services, allowing shoppers to see and buy current inventory. In addition, shoppers can order items the store doesn’t stock and pick them up in store. Gen Z shoppers like the convenience of online ordering, and they like to save money. According to Adweek magazine, 53 percent of this demographic will drive half an hour to a store to pick up a package instead of paying for shipping. If your store has an ecommerce element, add free in-store pickup as a delivery option.
4. Streamline the Checkout Process
Gen Z shoppers don’t want to browse a large store to find what they need, so TargetExpress locations keep the most popular items in a grab-and-go location for quick purchase. Checkout lanes are designed to handle high traffic, with smaller basket and cart sizes, and self-checkout kiosks allow shoppers to complete purchases quickly. Rethink the flow of your transactions and brainstorm ways to shorten the process. For example, offer a variety of checkout options, such as traditional lanes and sales associates equipped with mobile point of sale technology.
5. Be Consistent with Branding
About a year and a half after launching the concept, Target announced it would rebrand the stores from “TargetExpress” to “Target”. The decision fosters an omnichannel experience and eliminates the potential for brand confusion. Omnichannel strategies are important in today’s marketplace. Keep the look of your stores, website and social media platforms the same to strengthen your brand and give consumers a consistent experience.
The success of the TargetExpress concept has proven that getting specific when targeting your demographic is a good business strategy. Whether your market is Gen Zers, Baby Boomers or anyone in between, implementing techniques that address their unique pain points can help you build successful relationships.
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This article is provided by Epson. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions and views of Target.