E-commerce has changed the way that many of us shop, and as a result, retailers with brick-and-mortar stores are having to reinvent the wheel in order to continue capturing consumer demand. The latest retailer to reveal its new approach to omni-channel retailing is Target.
Although Target announced that it would continue to heavily invest in its digital outreach, it is also doubling down on its physical stores and creating flexible-format stores that can better “offer guests an elevated experience, while ensuring fast, easy pick ups for online orders”. That’s right, Target’s formula is to elevate its physical stores as fulfillment centers.
In 2017, Target is expecting to completely remodel 110 stores and open 30 new small-format stores to expand its footprint into dense urban neighborhoods, including in the Cambridge where we are currently working on a citywide retail strategy. Here in New York, we’re seeing new Target stores opening across all boroughs and just last week, it was announced that Target was planning a store right here in Jackson Heights.
The size of an average existing Target store is approximately 130,000 sf. However, the new urban and smaller-format stores will only be a fraction at an average of 20,000-30,000 sf.According to Target, the smaller format stores are intended to both reach urban dwellers who tend to be more affluent but also expand the brand into areas that are currently under served by Target. It is also hoping to use this opportunity to also reach many tourists from around the world who shop in dense urban areas like New York City.
Keeping in line with Target’s formula to offer an omni-channel retail experience, these stores will feature two entrances – one with exciting displays of exclusive brands and seasonal products and the other with a quick Order Pick-up and grab-and-go food and wine/liquor shop. The former entrance is clearly for a shopper who is willing to spend valuable time browsing the store, while the latter serves as a convenient escape route for the shopper who is avoiding shopping. This second entrance for hurried shoppers is expected to have self-checkout lanes and dedicated Order Pickup Counters. Reserved parking spaces in some locations will also be conveniently located outside this second entrance to allow Target associates to deliver online orders to customers in their cars.
The split personality of these new Target stores is further emphasized in the in-store technology and store design. Elevated, cross-merchandise product presentations are expected to encourage browsing and are designed to amplify Target’s exclusive lines of products – from furniture to apparel. Meanwhile, Target store associates will be equipped with new technology to search inventory, take payments from a mobile point-of-sale system and arrange deliveries all conveniently from the sales floor.
Target will also be upgrading its grocery departments in its new store formats by increasing fresh produce selections and grab-and-go meal options. It appears as though Target is trying to venture into the world of grocery stores. The grocery departments will be located on lower floors and is expected to meet the demand of office workers in urban locations such as TriBeCa or Herald Square in New York City.