I’ve been a big fan of Target in the United States for a while, so much as to defend the brand and receive a crazy amount of response on my “Target Loves Canada but does Canada Love Target” post. Back then, I had so much hope for the company’s entry into Canada, and to be blunt since the stores have opened in Canada I’m beyond disappointed.
I was just reading an article about how the sales have been disappointing here in Canada. Here’s a clip from Marketing Magazine:
“While initial sales in Canada have fallen well short of expectations, we remain very confident in the long-term potential of these assets,” chief executive Gregg Steinhafel said at an investor event in Toronto.
“These are great locations in strong markets with demographics that are ideal for our strategy.”
Target Canada president Tony Fisher said Canadians still haven’t fully embraced the “one-stop shopping” concept that’s so popular in the United States. Companies like Target have thrived in the U.S. on the idea that everything consumers need is under one roof, an image that competitor Wal-Mart has also embraced with its superstore locations, which are relatively new in Canada.
Here’s the deal Target, how am I supposed to shop in your store when there is nothing to buy? I’ll tell you why initial sales have sucked: You haven’t done anything new or exciting. Yes, you have exclusive brands, beautifully designed things…and yet there is one major flaw: YOU NEVER HAVE ANYTHING IN STOCK! How can we embrace the “one-stop shopping” concept in a store that doesn’t have any product? I can’t get a lot of the things in your store that I can get at Wal-Mart, Safeway, Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart….the list goes on. If anything positive came of your entry into Canada, it was that it made our existing retailers panic and make their stores better.
I live a 5 minute walk from your Chinook Centre store and visit at least once a week, hoping each time it will get better. I originally thought that the emptiness was due to the store being popular and overrun by eager shoppers. It’s been months now…and nothing has changed. I need milk, it’s sold out. I need socks, sold out. I walk through the shoe section…only to find nothing. Just aisles of empty shelves, shopping carts strewn about, one…maybe two cashiers open. In addition to the 5 self-serve checkouts (of which only 2 are actually working).
Here’s a post from Facebook that I thought was right on point:
Your Grande Prairie location is hilarious. Every time we go in, there’s huge eight foot sections completely sold out of product. No facing. No tags denoting that the item is sold out. Just empty shelves. Why exactly was everyone excited about you coming here? Your prices aren’t better, your products aren’t better, your customer service isn’t better (what service? There’s never anyone on the floor!). No incentive for customers to buy. – Charlie McDonald
No one who works there seems to know anything when you ask, (like how to change the PIN on your Target Debit card) and there never seems to be anyone around. Why have the help buttons when there is no one to help!
I thought this may be one location, so I ventured to another. It was worse. The entire experience left a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s time to get your act together Target! Wal-Mart expanded a ton of their stores with fresh groceries, deli, bakeries and have become a pretty decent place to shop (and it hurts me to say that, because Wal-Mart has been the most dreadful shopping experience up until you came to town.) Yes, it’s understandable there are growing pains and roadblocks upon entry into another country, but this is just ridiculous. To be fair, the bar was set high by unrealistic expectations by consumers in addition to being fuelled by your amazing advertising and branding. FYI In case you skipped your Marketing 101 class: Nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising, and you have a whole lot of bad product. Your stores are sad, empty, and unexciting. The exact opposite of how you want to be perceived. Zellers with a fresh coat of paint if you will.
Target….It’s time to get your shit together and be the awesome store you promised to be. For those of you reading this blog, let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
P.S. All these pictures were taken at the Chinook Centre location in about 10 minutes…I didn’t even have to try to find empty shelves. 🙁