How Technology is Changing the Face of Business Today “The difference between the winners and losers in retail increasingly comes down to one factor: tech savvy” (Sherman, 2012). The retail marketplace is increasingly competitive and therefor undergoing constant change to attract and convert consumers. According to the survey conducted by the retail consulting firm RSR, “firms that outperform industry averages for annual same-store sales comparisons tend to use and understand specialized computer software tools to manage specific aspects of merchandising” (Sherman, 2012).
With increased adoption of smart phone technology, QR codes have become a common sight in recent years. QR codes now appear in television commercials, print ads, and in stores. In store locations vary from front windows, to dressing rooms, to product displays. These codes extend the shopping experience beyond the brick-and-mortar of a store (Carver and Matus, 2012). Stores offer an enhanced experience using the QR codes by linking to the store’s “app” that can be downloaded for an easier shopping experience for mobile users, incentives and sweepstakes opportunities, additional product information, or user instructions. QR codes are a way to demonstrate being on trend and an edgy way for the consumer to connect with the store, while receiving some benefits” (Carver and Matus, 2012). The retailer also receives benefit from the consumer’s use of the QR code. Information regarding the consumer can easily be captured to better determine the retailer’s demographics and product preferences. Additionally, linking the QR code to social media can provide additional advertising opportunities to the retailer at a minimum cost. This year, Target decided to join the group of retailers using QR codes to interact with their customers. Target is creating new ways to help make guests’ digital shopping experience more convenient, seamless and personalized” (Wohl, 2012). Target has added QR codes to television ads, bus shelter ads, and catalog pages, allowing the customer to shop without ever stepping foot in the actual store. To further the holiday shopping experience at Target, the toy section, which is key to Target’s financial success during the holiday season, will feature QR codes alongside top toys. These are this year’s 20 hottest toys and can be purchased using a mobile phone with a simple scan of the code.
Additionally, customers who choose to use this function will also receive free shipping (Target Pressroom, 2012). Continuing with the usage of technology to drive holiday sales, Target will also offer free Wi-Fi throughout their stores. “The service will provide better access to Target’s award winning mobile app, and enable guests to redeem Target mobile coupons” (Target Pressroom, 2012). Target realizes they have strong competitors such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Toy R Us during this critical business season and understands that on-the-go internet access allows customers to instantly search for the best price.
While it may seem counter intuitive, Target wants the customer to search for a better deal with use of the in store Wi-Fi. Should the customer find a better price elsewhere, Target will match it this holiday season (Target Pressroom, 2012). However, they have done a great deal of competitive price shopping early on and are set to compete on the price market and show the customers that Target is priced right from the start and will hopefully convert shoppers on a long-term basis.
Target has certainly portrayed itself as tech savvy this holiday season and are positioned to compete with the utilization of technology to help drive their business. The usage of this technology will also give Target a glimpse into the minds of their shoppers – information regarding the top scans may lead to consumer insight of what shoppers are looking for, allowing Target to better plan their assortment and meet the needs to the consumer.
References Carver and Matus. “QR Codes in Retail Stores”. NellyMoser. http://www. nellymoser. com/action-codes/qr-codes-retail-stores/conclusions-about-qr-in-retail. Accessed on 12/17/2012. Sherman, Erik. “How High-Tech is Changing Retail”. Inc. August 30, 2012. “Target Unveils New Price Match, Exclusive Gifts and Digital Offerings for the Holiday Season”. Target Pressroom. October 17, 2012.