A Sign Of Things To Come

Nod to the new retail reality
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The following blog appears on Target’s corporate website and bears repeating.

Target’s unprecedented offer this Cyber Monday — two days with 15 percent off nearly everything site-wide and storewide — is more than a great savings opportunity. It signals a major shopping trend that I believe we’ll see more of in coming years.

In our always-on, always-connected world, the alignment between a retailer’s stores and its website is critical. Given the myriad options consumers have today, we all know they demand a great in-store experience. Increasingly, they also expect the best of online to be available to them at physical stores, and I think that’s now true of major sales events like Cyber Monday.

Last year on Cyber Monday, we offered 15 percent off site-wide for the first time ever. It was a huge moment for us. Traffic and orders exploded, shattering sales records and also causing our website to buckle under the pressure. The message from guests —which is what we call our Target customers — was loud and clear: Guests loved saving 15 percent across Target’s broad assortment during the holiday shopping season.

The tremendous guest response also affirmed for us that consumers want —in fact, they demand — experiences that are easy and seamless between online and stores. They want flexibility and convenience so they can shop when they want, however they want.

That’s why this year we’re making Cyber Monday history by taking last season’s Cyber Monday offer — 15 percent off nearly everything site-wide — and extending it to all of our 1,802 stores. Plus, we’re adding a second day, with the sale running Sunday through Monday.

We’re ready to serve guests who choose to shop us online over these two days. Since last year, our tech teams have stood up an entirely new front-end and back-end for our website. We have been furiously pressure-testing the site with both simulated and real traffic. We’ve also built more flexibility into the site so it can scale up for major events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and I’m confident the site can now handle far greater volume than a year ago.

I predict we’ll start to see more and more retailers merge their online and stores strategies and promotions. In this case, that means bringing online events like Cyber Monday into physical stores.

Gone are the days when retailers need to be anxious about buzz-phrases like multichannel, omni-channel, showrooming or webrooming. These terms merely nod to the new reality of how consumers shop.

Today’s consumers want to be able to shop on-the-go from their phones and pick up their orders at a store. They want easy access to reviews, product details and pricing. They want to know when inventory levels are low. And when items are out of stock at one store, they want to be able to go online and check availability at nearby locations.

To win in the future, retailers must create a more cohesive stores-online presence. That’s what we’re working to build at Target, and exactly what we’re striving to deliver this Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond. Happy shopping!

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