Target stated it will nearly triple the number Disney shops in its stores by the end-of-2019 to increase foot traffic during the holiday season. The 1,900-store national retailer opened select Disney shops in selected locations in 2019. Target will now have more than 160 Target locations selling Disney-themed merchandise in its mini Disney shops. Target stated that it will expand its dedicated online Disney experience to fans who are looking for toys and games from the most popular properties.
Target announced that it will partner with FAO Schwarz, a well-known toy retailer, for the second consecutive year. It will feature a 70-piece exclusive toy collection from FAO Schwarz, which includes Paw Patrol and Barbie items. The shop will have a pop up shop in the FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City.
Total Retail’s View:Target expands its Disney shops ahead of the holiday season which is a crucial time for toys sales. Target is investing more in the product vertical, which is not surprising. Target has seen Toys grow in the last quarter. Target’s second quarter ended July 31. Target is not the only retailer anticipating a surge in toy shoppers over the holiday season. Macy’s announced last Wednesday that it signed a deal to open stores inside more than 400 locations of the department store chain and online. Macy’s now offers a wider selection of Toys R Us merchandise.
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Is it possible to think smaller when it comes to big-box retail CX?
Big-box stores have been a magnet for foot traffic for decades. They offer convenience, selection, and savings. The shelves were stocked with trusted brands at a low price that only large-scale chains could offer. The stores provided a convenient retail environment that was not limited to urban areas. Shoppers would visit these stores weekly for groceries, household supplies, and other necessities. They also made it possible to browse the beauty, apparel, and home decor aisles.
Target is one of my clients. It’s a huge inventory allows for better cross-category marketing and customer experiences. The Target effect is a story about a man going into a store to buy deodorant and walking out with $200 in goods. It is almost impossible to not come across a new product while you are in a store.
This business model is extremely successful, but the past year has also provided opportunities for small and mid-sized stores. In rapidly changing environments, flexibility and adaptability are essential. Not all stores can handle the trial-and-error of new floor formats such as Target. Retailers can be unable to adapt and be flexible due to the high costs of staffing and lengthy lease agreements. Many big-box retailers are currently reassessing their retail formats. This could lead to a 20% decrease in retail real property inventory in the next five years.
The question is: Is retail becoming less big-box? Are there any opportunities for big-box retailers to embrace new trends and adapt to changing customer expectations (CX).
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Rethinking Big-Box Retail Format
Although large-box retailers were essential during the pandemic, they remained open (leading to record profits but a distorted vision of brick-and mortar trends). But something else happened: Shoppers who had been reluctant to order online began to love it. In 2020, consumers spent $861.12 trillion on e-commerce in the United States. This was an increase of 44% year-over-year.
What does this all mean for big-box retail? Let’s get back to basics. Convenience was the first tentpole. This aspect of customer experience should not be lost if it doesn’t get too far. It’s about redefining what convenience means today. With so much consumer data available, you already have the answer. It is possible to see which products are being bought, their purchase dates, and the most frequently purchased items together.
Amazon.com is an e-commerce giant that leverages brick-and-mortar trends with its assortment of physical stores (Amazon 4 star, Amazon Go and Presented By Amazon). It was able to use the data to create new retail concepts that were convenient and attracted consumers to smaller stores. Lowe’s is also looking at smaller retail formats. It has Pro shops within its larger-footprint locations where professionals can shop for home improvements or order items online for pickup. It’s all about convenience and improving customer experience.
Big-box retailers will continue to develop their capabilities for key demographics. Understanding how to operate in a smaller footprint can open up new opportunities to bring smaller retail formats to urban locations (suburban locations if necessary). You can also be smaller in terms of your retail format and product offerings. This will allow you to quickly learn and fail fast to meet customer changing needs.
Although the future of retail is still uncertain, it will include large-box retailers. These stores may look slightly different. It is all about evaluating — or reconsidering — the potential benefits of the space for the customer and business. Are smaller front-of house spaces the future for retail stores? Or are there more back-of-house areas that can be used for fulfillment and delivery? Are 24-hour pickup points available in stores that don’t draw the same foot traffic? Ask questions, examine the data and consider all possibilities.