Behind the scenes of Target’s schemes
HOW TARGET TRAPS ITS CUSTOMERS INTO SPLURGING
In January 2018, Twitter user Haley Copeland tweeted: “No one goes to Target because they need something. You go to Target and let Target tell you what you need.” Many people on the internet are coining this phenomenon of going into the store and coming out with more items than originally intended as “The Target Effect.” In addition to using celebrity endorsers and user-generated content to bring in customers, Target also uses other methods while customers are in stores, so over-purchasing is no coincidence.
Business Insider recently conducted their own research of “The Target Effect” in late October and found several key factors as to why customers naturally splurge. One of these factors is noticeable when a customer first enters the store—Starbucks. The massive coffee chain that has popped up on every street corner has now established itself in Target, which creates a welcoming atmosphere for those who are shopping. A customer can grab their caffeine in preparation for the epic shopping spree that awaits.
As the customer makes their way past the entrance, they will find that the general layout of Target is open. According to Business Insider, the clothes section, for example, isn’t harshly divided from the grocery section. This entices customers to keep moving from one area of the store to another, snatching things off the shelves and throwing them in their already overflowing cart.
Some of these items, though, are not always accessible. In what Business Insider calls the “seasonal section,” items like school supplies and holiday decorations are strategically placed at the back of the store, so the customer has no other choice than to make the tempting trek through the aisles to get to their desired location.
Even so, Business Insider points out that Target also rotates their general merchandise, instilling a sense of urgency into customers to immediately buy the item before it disappears off the shelves before their next visit.
The method to the madness continues with the store’s organization. Through clearly labeled sections to direct customers, Target makes their consumers feel less overwhelmed compared to other merchandise outlets. Business Insider also credits Target’s vibrant colors, such as the employees’ iconic red shirts that can be easily spotted; bright lights; and wide aisles for its success.
When the customer thinks they have safely made it to the checkout without spending another dime, it’s not over yet. The dollar section located by the checkout, known as “Bullseye’s Playground,” takes advantage of customers’ quick impulses to buy hordes of things at low prices.
But perhaps the most revealing piece of evidence from Business Insider about “The Target Effect” comes from NYU Professor Priya Raghubir. Raghubir made a statement concluding that “The real key to Target’s success is that you don’t actually regret buying anything. Those unplanned purchases, they’re often things people do want, they just haven’t thought of putting them on their shopping list.”
Why bother making a list of things to buy when Target will do it for its customers?