Target Books Loyalty

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Sep 26, 2005
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By John Hennessy


Target recently launched a reading club supported by a Web site, www.target.com/readysitread. The club is intended to get American families hooked on reading.


“Our goal is to ignite children’s interest in books and ultimately to encourage reading at an early age,” said Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target. “Book clubs are the perfect vehicle for this because they build lifelong learning skills and a thirst for knowledge. Plus, there’s an added benefit to all this: book clubs help parent and child forge stronger bonds as they explore books together.”


Parents and children who register online will receive a free starter kit, which will provide them with everything they need to start their own club. This kit, which doubles as a backpack, includes:


  • A “how to host a book club” overview;

  • A fun story for parents to read with their children;

  • Ready-to-go invites they can send to their friends;

  • A read-o-meter, which is both a book mark and a timer to keep track of their reading time;

  • A door hang with reading tips and a coupon offer; and

  • A book club flag.

Printable membership certificates entitle parent and child to a $2 coupon for children’s book purchases at Target.


The book club site will be updated each month with new book picks for each developmental stage, as well as activities that complement the books.


Book club members can continue their club experiences in stores, too. Each month guests will find books flagged as book club picks in a designated section of the book department.


Moderator’s Comment: Do the benefits to Target related to its Parent/Child Book Club go beyond book sales for this program? How can retailers improve
some part of their shoppers’ lives while simultaneously improving their business?


Create demand. That’s what Target’s book club is sure to do. And it does so while benefiting its shoppers.


I am sure after reading this, every grocer began planning their “Veggie Club” for kids program on behalf of the families they serve. Sell more veggies.
Help kids develop great habits. Make mom happy. And generate incremental sales while cultivating a new set of customers in the process. It’s magical when everyone benefits.


John Hennessy – Moderator

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9 Comments on "Target Books Loyalty"


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Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Direct engagement is grand. Reach an enthusiast and build. The more of these, the merrier. I expect they had a hard time selling this one past the bean counters, since it sounds like it is no small expense, and someone somewhere will be wanting to see a direct ROI within 3 months. And, of course, you can’t do that, anymore than you can measure results of a demo the next day. There are so many very specific “enthusiast” niches out there. If I were a retailer, I’d be looking to find those niches within my target area, and build direct engagement. Vegetarians, scratch bakers, microbrew beer fans — the woods are full of them.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Bookstores commonly reach out to their community via readings, book club support, and discounts to teachers and librarians. A few cooking-related housewares stores reach out by holding classes and demonstrations. Kate’s Paperie (an upscale stationery chain in the NY area) runs gift wrapping classes and wedding events, as does Blue Tulip, another small stationery/gift chain in the Middle Atlantic states. Some department stores run fashion events and book signings. Home Depot runs do-it-yourself demos all the time. But these are the exceptions, not the rule. Most retailers think that “community involvement” means taking donations for charity a couple of times a year. They do not engage their customers socially in any ongoing consistent way, except to sell merchandise. Their only ways of creating demand are based on locations, advertising, display, and pricing. For most companies, each extra customer transaction drops 10% to 30% directly to the bottom line. Yet retailers have trouble acting and thinking “out of the box” about getting that extra transaction.

nat chiaffarano
Guest
nat chiaffarano
15 years 5 months ago

There is no greater role than to improve upon the education of our children. Consumers will express their gratitude to any business that furthers that goal. And it’s a good thing to acquaint children with the fun side of the Target brand at an early age. Better yet, conduct in-store readings to children while their parents shop the aisles. Best yet, develop a line of fun reading books that are also workbooks to provoke greater involvement.

Don Delzell
Guest
Don Delzell
15 years 5 months ago
Target is attempting to build its “relationship” with its customer. It’s a planned, organized, and intentional approach to brand building. Retail brands differ from CPG brands in that the store represents an environment in which experiences happen. We all know that the sum totality of those experiences coalesces into the consumer’s perception of the retailer. I did some quick research on “relationship management”…not in the business section, but in the psychology section. I found that a relationship can be seen as an accumulation of shared experiences. The affect the relationship carries is related to the how these “experiences” occur. The Target book club is different from common tools such as Bridal or Gift Registries only in that there is a very slight straight line relationship to product sold. Is Target aiming to become a dominant player in youth book sales? One has doubts. I haven’t seen the numbers, but judging from space in Borders, I don’t think Youth is in the top 5 of their product segments. No, this is simply an attempt to build… Read more »
Karen Kingsley
Guest
Karen Kingsley
15 years 5 months ago

Wal-Mart has banned books and magazines it deems inappropriate to its target audience and Target finds a way to engage customers and future customers in reading and the store. And people question why consumers have a more positive attitude toward Target. No surprise to me.

This is a smart and profitable move. I am eager to see how it works out for them, although I do believe the greatest benefit will be intangible. I have already forwarded the article to someone whose child tried to start her own book club.

Elisabeth Eaton
Guest
Elisabeth Eaton
15 years 5 months ago

Anything that encourages reading is a good thing. I’m sure Target will pick books that are relatively neutral because, why pick something that will cause controversy? There is a lot of great Children’s literature out there. Target will also be invading Barnes & Noble’s territory. Why pay B&N $20.00 to join their discount program when you can go to Target and get the book for the same price or lower? Yes, B&N has children’s programs but Target gives the consumer one more option. Has anyone looked into Border’s new discount program? It’s very clever as well.

Mark Burr
Guest
15 years 5 months ago
Reading is likely the best tool possible in building a parent child relationship. It can take you everywhere – together. The reading we’ve done together resulted in a love for books, her ability to write, her ability to communicate and hold conversations. Today, as a teen, she’s able to hold intelligent conversations with adults of any age. I attribute this to beginning reading to her as an infant. It was the way I could read the paper at the time and lull her to sleep. It turned into us reading the paper together later. Now it’s expanded to reading over the net and reading books regularly as well as discussing them. I gladly support Target’s effort to encourage family involvement in reading. It’s best done with the TV off! There have been many items over the years that I have balked at spending money on. You know, all those ‘can I have this?’ jabs that you get out shopping with a child. A book was never turned down. Target’s book sections have been much improved… Read more »
Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Why should retailers wait for a natural disaster or terrorist action before they do something good that will improve the quality of life? But, of course, it is a careful line that they must walk, trying not to look like this is a self-serving action. However, retailers such as Target exist with a very important and influential status that can get kids and adults attention toward a movement that is very important. Right on Big Red!

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 5 months ago
I got my children hooked on books by reading aloud to them when they were young. By the end of the entire Hobbit series, Chronicles of Narnia, and various others, they were literature junkies. Later, I required both of them to read the front page of the newspaper every day for one year, and then tell me what each story meant in their own words. Today, in their early twenties, both talk about the latest book they read. On the flip side, one of my closest friends, a very intelligent mid-fifties MBA, says he can’t remember the last book he read. I believe reading habits are instilled at a very young age. When I was a kid – something my children can’t envision – we had black and white TV with three snowy stations. Boring. My dad, an underpaid teacher, had sprung for a set of Encyclopedia Britannica from a door-to-door salesman, and one summer I just sat down and read them. Cover to cover. Fascinating. (Late nights, however, were spent with flame-thrower rock ‘n’… Read more »
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