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Consumer Behavior Final Project Essay

Target Corporation is a retail store based out of America, its headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Target’s goal began with creating an upscale alternative to Wal Mart, while remaining a discount store. They have since become the fourth largest retailer and second largest discount retailer in the United States, Wal Mart being the first. Target’s first retail store was opened in 1962, in Minnesota. The company has continually grown to its present day size, operating 1,916 stores in the US. In 2013 Target began operating in Canada, and has since opened 127 stores throughout. Target offers clean, spacious and guest-friendly stores. Their motto is “Expect More, Pay Less,” indicating you will find good quality, at low prices. They have a variety of their own in store brands. Target has made “cheap-chic” accessible to everyone, in the form of furniture, fashion and household items, offering designer products at affordable prices.

Target reaches younger customers with higher incomes than its competitors. Target aims for high-end buyers, in part because the middle class is shrinking. In general they reach moderate to better income families with active lifestyles and a multitude of hobbies. A Target customer’s median age is 40, and median household income is $64,000. Eighty percent of Target customers are female and thirty-three percent have children at home. 50% of consumers are employed in professional or managerial positions. Around fifty-seven percent of Target customers have completed college. Generally Target’s consumers are interested in buying higher end, quality products.

Their primary market is females ages 35-45, therefore this demographic should be the focus of their marketing efforts. Secondary customers could be the spouses of these females who use the products their wives shop for but are not the primary customers making the purchasing decisions. Tertiary consumers could be children in families, using the product but not yet making direct purchasing decisions. These children may become primary consumers later in life, if they associate the brand with positive experiences. Target offers a customer loyalty program which helps generate and keep customers. This program helps identify customer purchasing trends which enables marketers to create effective, targeted promotions, decreasing advertising costs.

The key behind Target’s success is their positioning as a high-end brand despite their low prices, which attracts a group of consumers who normally would not seek discount retailers. Target provides knowledgable, friendly staff that is happy to answer questions and assist customers. A report by Time Trades showed that 85 percent of consumers purchase more when helped by a knowledgeable sales person. Target successfully associates it’s brand with a younger, edgier, hipper and more fun image that it’s discount retail competitors. Most consumers that shop at Target don’t see it as a discount store, but as a superstore where you can buy everything you need conveniently in one place.

Target spends 2.3 percent of their revenue on advertising, in comparison Wal-Mart only spends 0.3 percent. Target has been smart with their marketing efforts, especially by partnering with many high-end design oriented suppliers over the years. Target uses bright and eye-catching advertisements with creative presentations. Target puts a lot of work into their displays and understands the power of them, capturing more sales as a result. An example of this is the bins Target strategically places near the front entrance with items under five dollars. This catches consumers’ attention when they first enter the store and right before they head to the checkout.

Most consumers identify with Target’s symbol, a bulls-eye and their store color, red without even seeing or hearing the Target name. Target continues to improve their mobile app, which is an in-store shopping tool for consumers. The app includes a section for weekly ads that uses location to show consumers a weekly ad for a nearby store. There is a section in the app that allows consumers to prepare a personalized shopping list. Target’s guest wi fi network which lets consumers see special services and deals for each store also allows Target to monitor where in the store consumers are and what products they are looking for. They have created an online magazine called “A Bulls-eye View.” Its purpose is to tell stories behind Target’s partnerships, products, events and other things going on with the company.

It does not pitch products but instead stays true to an old-journalism outlook, “show don’t tell.” For example, an article may be written about how to decorate your home using a Target product line, but will not promote a specific product. “A Bulls-eye View” attracts 100,000 unique visitors each month. The Target spokesperson, Hausman says Target’s marketing efforts are heading towards building stronger relationships with consumers through social media. This is what “A Bulls-eye View” is designed to do, build relationships with consumers that will eventually lead to sales. Target has a packaging operations team to ensure products have an appealing structure that holds the product with eye-catching graphics.

Target’s advertising and in-store promotions strive to convey the message that they are clean, fresh and offer in style products. They send the message that products are priced well and convenient to buy. Target uses assortment, placing complementary items, commonly purchased together near each other. Through intelligent, consistent marketing Target has turned it’s bulls-eye logo into a lifestyle symbol recognized by ninety-six percent of American consumers.

Strivers represent active consumers and are the primary VALS type that shop at Target. Shopping allows these people to demonstrate to peers their ability to buy, and is a social activity. Strivers can be compulsive buyers, depending on their financial circumstances. Strivers tend to like stylish, trendy products, and love fun, which are qualities Target represents and personality traits they aim to appeal to. I think Target’s secondary market is Experiencers, who are generally young and eager consumers. They like self-expression and excitement, and are attracted to new offbeat brands. Target tries to appeal to young, hip, fun consumers. Experiencers tend to spend a lot of their income on entertainment, socializing and fashion, and strive to accumulate trendy possessions.

Even though these consumers are young and most likely do not yet have large entertainment and clothing budgets, they are attracted to Target because it is a discount store. Those that follow terminal values of social recognition may be attracted to Target, Target markets it’s company as providing high-end products for a high-end lifestyle. Those that value an exciting life may be attracted to Target’s brand since its image is exciting and fun. Other-directed consumers may be more likely to shop at Target; they observe their peers to decide what is acceptable. Many of Target’s advertisements demonstrate social acceptance portraying groups.

Target shoppers use routinized response behavior for most of the items they would purchase. Most Target guests are shopping for every day household items, which are items they have experience purchasing. They do not need more information or time spent researching the product. Those that use routinized response behavior have experience purchasing the product, and a clear idea of their expectations. The more a product becomes routine to buy for a consumer, the less reactive they will be to advertising efforts and discounts for similar products of different brands. Consumers at Target may use limited problem solving, occurring when shoppers are thinking about purchasing new versions of previously purchased products that may have additional features. Another instance when limited problem solving would be used is when a consumer is undecided about which brand or version of a product to purchase.

Consumers may need more information to understand the differences between product brands. Limited problem solving is often used with occasional purchases like clothing, movies, and cosmetics. Since Target has such a wide variety of items for sale, there are many different decision-making processes used. Extensive problem solving is probably the least common decision-making process used by Target shoppers. Extensive problem solving is used when purchasing a product in a new category that is not well known or when purchasing a high-risk item that is more expensive or presents a psychological risk. With extensive problem solving there is no consumer preference for a certain brand or product.

The purchase process in long and a lot of time is spent on research. There are few products sold at Target that require extensive problem solving, perhaps electronics like computers, televisions and video game consoles. The same product may not produce the same decision-making process in every consumer. A Target shopper that is accustomed to a certain product will have routinized response behavior, whereas a consumer who is new to a product will probably use limited problem solving for the same purchase.

1. How many times in the past year have you shopped in a discount retail store?
2. How many people live in your household, and how many of these individuals are children (under 18)?
3. What is your yearly household income?
4. What industry do you work in?
5. Do you make most of your purchases in a physical retail store or online?
6. What is your age range?
7. What city do you live in?
8. What is your level of education?
9. What are your hobbies and interests?
10. If you could create a retail store personalized to your wants and needs what would it be like?

Consumers enjoy shopping at Target because it is a one-stop shopping experience with a large selection. It offers a fun, comfortable and safe shopping environment with low-prices on high quality, well-designed items. Target is process-oriented, focused on getting their work done with integrity towards employees and customers. They have a deep concern for their employees, providing a fair, positive work environment and fair wages. Target is dedicated to meeting their guests’ needs and always catering to the guest experience, which contributes greatly to their success and the positive consumer attitude towards their brand.

Works Cited

1. “History: Target’s Shopping Experience Over Time | Target Corporate.” Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2014. . 2. Target Stores. (2014, August 3). Retrieved September 26, 2014. . 3. Abramovich, Gisele. “Target’s ‘Show Don’t Sell’ Content Strategy – Digiday.” Digiday. N.p., 16 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. . 4. “Target Careers: Advertising & Marketing Jobs | Target Corporate.” Target . N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.
. 5. Barwise, Patrick, and Sean Meehan. “Bullseye: Target’s Cheap Chic Strategy – HBS Working Knowledge.” Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. N.p., 16 Aug. 2004. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. . 6. Schiffman, Leon G., and Leslie Lazar Kanuk. Consumer Behavior. Pearson, 2010. 7. Johnson, Lauren. “Target Tightens Focus on Mobile as In-store Shopping Tool.” Mobile Commerce Daily RSS. N.p., 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. .

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