Target is one of our go-to stores when we are in need of practically anything you can think of-a hair brush, a summer dress, groceries, a plasma tv, makeup, face cleansers and much more. Recently, an article in the Chicago Tribune reported that Target would soon be expanding its “beauty concierge” within the Chicago area. The company’s goal is to expand this program from 28 to 44 stores. The uniqueness of this program is that associates are dressed in black aprons equipped with iPads, as well as mirrors and product samples to provide shoppers with guidance and expertise when they are browsing through the aisles of the beauty section looking for beauty products. According to this article, Chicago was selected as the test market for this program due to its shopping population. Specific locations Target is hoping to expand this program include Cicero, Vernon Hills and West Schaumburg while shutting the program in other locations such as Palatine, Bedford Park, Joliet, Villa Park, Oswego, Plainfield, North Aurora and Romeoville. Further, Target is also expected to expand its program into three additional markets: Los Angeles/Orange County, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C
The implementation of Target’s Beauty Concierge program is part of a trend in the beauty industry in which department stores and specialty retailers are helping and giving customers the opportunity to try their products before buying them. Since the skin care market grew 10 percent in 2012, Target is anticipating this program to boost sales. This new personalized beauty service is allowing Target not only to compete with stores such as Walgreens, who offers most of these products, but also to beauty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty. Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner at a global management consulting group commented on Target’s strategy by saying that at the end of the day fashion is a product and department stores are competing with beauty retailers and vice versa.
Operation managers at Target are certainly trying to keep up with the industry by coming up with these unique strategies. I think that the implementation of this new service can be a great success in very populated Target stores across the city, for example in downtown Chicago. As this program matures, I think Target will gain a competitive advantage over other popular department stores such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS. The success of this program will largely be dependent on the type of associates that are being hired and the level of training they receive. Customers nowadays are always looking for advice when they are shopping for products, especially make up because not everyone is a beauty expert. Having someone to help you choose which specific foundation matches your skin, which mascara would help your lashes stand out, or which lipstick would look nice with an outfit, is certainly a service customers will appreciate. In my perspective, operation managers should place great emphasis on the increase of sales from beauty products to ensure that this project is being managed efficiently and can perhaps be used as a basis to provide a reasonable forecast to other Target stores across the nation.
What is your opinion? Do you think this program would attract more customers?