January 15, 2015
Target has just announced that its expansion in to Canada will end, with the closure of 133 stores. Why? A fundamental failure of the company’s marketing. Target failed to understand the market and, as a result, failed to provide the products Canadian customers wanted, at the right price and failed to promote itself correctly.
I remember my first trip to a Target south of the border in the mid 1990s. It was a revelation. Living as I did in the UK there was nothing like Target – somewhere you could go to get almost everything at incredibly competitive prices. Having visited Target stores in the US many times since I moved to Canada in 2010 the experience in my local Canadian store was a very different experience.
Having experienced the US stores, Canadians wanted that same combination of product choice and price that they experienced there, but the company failed to replicate it successfully in Canada. This breach of customer goodwill made Canadian customers think differently about the company. Combine this with a lack of a clear differentiator between stores like Canadian Tire and Walmart and you have all of the ingredients for failure.
That, in my opinion, is the reason for Target’s failure in Canada.
Startup and SmallBiz PR and marketing tip: business success is based on building and maintaining solid relationships with the people that matter most to achieving it. Don’t take your customers for granted and be prepared to stick with it for the long haul. If you change the brand experience – a combination of value proposition, core values and customer experience – then you fundamentally change the relationship you have with customers.