Target has boomed in popularity in recent years. Shoppers know that they can find something for their home or wardrobe even when they don't explicitly need anything. The retailer's blend of style and low prices has led to it to compete with the heavy-hitting Walmart.
The great variety of clothes, home goods, toys, and electronics has a downside, however. Shoppers who want to drop by for a few items don't want to walk a half-marathon to fulfill their shopping list.
Target has known about this problem for some time and is finally unveiling a solution—the "ease" entrance. The company has decided to make two entrances to the store and redesign the layout to make each entrance offer a different experience.
The ease entrance will lead to several high-use services. Returns, order pickup, and registries will sit near to this entry. The company also plans to have designated parking spaces for order pickups, where staff will bring the order to your car.
If it sounds like the company is trying to straddle the line between the convenience of internet shopping and the hard-to-reproduce experience of browsing, you're right. Target isn't giving up on being a player in the digital world, but they're trying to make their brick-and-mortar stores offer some of the convenience of internet shopping.
The ease entrance will also open up to grab-and-go snacks, the wine and beer section, and the general grocery department. There will also be a specially curated section of seasonal items. Around Mother's Day, there will be flowers and cards, and in the fall, there will be school supplies.
Target will continue to offer the relaxed browsing experience through the other door. Of course, they'll house the mini-Starbucks there to fuel your shopping odyssey.
However, you'll still notice some changes. Meandering and curved lanes will replace the familiar grid pattern of most grocery and retail stores. The corporate office hopes this new layout will allow the stores to feature displays more prominently.
Beauty products, accessories, and jewelry will be intermingled to create "compelling style moments." Even the storefronts will be made over with more greenery to create a more aesthetically pleasing experience.
With all these changes, you may be wondering why Target feels the need to evolve when they're doing so well. We all know the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The announcement from Target's redesign came very close on the heels of Amazon announcing that they were planning to enter the grocery business. The online retailing giant has five physical bookstores (as well as five more under construction), but their foray into Walmart and Target's turf took some by surprise.
Target has had an easy time competing against Walmart by partnering with high-end designers and focusing on style over cheapness. Amazon will represent a bigger challenge, and Target is trying to stay ahead of the curve.
The nice thing about Target's redesign is that the stores will fundamentally be the same. If you like the current browsing experience, you can simply go in that particular entrance.
Focusing on order fulfillment and customer convenience will give Target a head start in competing with Amazon once they begin construction on general retail stores. Competition often leads to innovation and a better customer experience, so we're excited to see where this all leads.