Target CEO makes house calls
Target isn’t just for suburban soccer moms anymore. According to CEO Brian Cornell, the retailer’s customers have “profoundly changed over the past couple of years.” That’s why he and other company executives are out on the road visiting shoppers in their homes.
In a speech to the Economic Club of Minnesota, Mr. Cornell said the company has planned home visits in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“No one knows I am the CEO of Target when I do that,” Mr. Cornell told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. “They don’t even know we’re from Target. We will interview them. I have sat with Hispanic moms with five-year-old little girls, talking about their needs as they think about their baby, where they shop, what they shop for.”
The goal is to better understand customers and translate that into products and services that best meet their needs. Mr. Cornell described the process as “fundamental ethnography work” in a Minneapolis Star Tribune report.
One of the profound changes in shopping behavior in recent years is the use of mobile devices.
“Mobile, for them, is absolutely a way of life,” Mr. Cornell said (via the Pioneer Press) of current customers. “They want their demands met on their terms.”
- Target CEO Brian Cornell visiting homes of customer – Minneapolis Star Tribune (tiered sub.)
- Target CEO’s hands-on approach brings him into shoppers’ homes – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (tiered sub.)
- As Target woos younger generation, think urban stores and apps – St. Paul Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com
How much value can retail headquarters executives gain from speaking with customers in stores and by visiting them in their homes? Is what Brian Cornell and the Target team doing unusual or common in the retailing world?