Target Invites Consumers To Co-Create Products Using A Secret App
The retailer sends select invitations to shoppers to join its secret product development community, letting members collaborate with Target designers and see their ideas manifest in stores, a practice that takes consumer-informed R&D to the next level
Target has a secret app called Studio Connect that allows for a select group of customers, personally invited by the retailer, to participate in the brand’s product development process. By enabling co-creation, Target builds community and consumer trust in the eyes of loyal shoppers. The platform’s interface is akin to that of Instagram. While brands such as Everlane have used the social media platform to host an invite-only community, Target takes this consumer-loyalty initiative in-house. With Studio Connect, Target’s main objective is to enable consumers to enter the feedback loop at all stages of product development.
To better understand the role of Studio Connect in Target’s customer experience strategy, senior vice president of product design and development at Target Julie Guggemos explains, “Studio Connect enables our designers to interact with guests at any point while developing products, encouraging conversations and adding a level of flexibility to the formal feedback process.”
From the findings published in CX Playbook, it is clear that consumers are more inclined to trust brands that encourage them to be a part of the R&D process, and 79% of consumers expect brands to show how much they value customer insights. Through its use of a familiar interface, Target is able to build a community with consumers outside of the purchase stage of the customer journey.
Many customer-centric companies rely on data from purchasing behaviors and immersive product beta-testing experiences. However, Target, by connecting with potential buyers before the purchase decision stage, encourages consumers to form more trusting and loyal relationships with the retailer.
By reaching out to shoppers in the pre-purchase phases, companies can be nimble in their product development and merchandising. For example, When Target was creating tee shirt designs for Mother’s Day, consumers were able to provide slogan ideas via the app within 24 hours of the retailer’s inquiry. 40% of millennial women believe that Instagram is the best way for brands to reach out to potential customer, and as a result, for many fashion brands Instagram has become the first point of consumer contact. Accordingly, through the use of Studio Connect’s familiar interface, Target designers can receive instant and authentic feedback from prospective buyers.
Ultimately, these real-time consumer-company interactions allow Target to be more malleable and open to meaningful input during the product design and merchandising phases. This allows for the brand to create products and experiences that are tailored to what consumers truly want, designing its offers around key consumer feedback.
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