- Target has an invite-only app that lets members collaborate with designers and potentially see their ideas in stores, according to Fast Company. Members of "Studio Connect" get to be part of a feedback loop, seeing and sometimes trying products early, while encouraging Target to develop products that consumers will want to buy.
- Studio Connect has about 600 members, each recruited through online research and receipt polls. They aren't paid but can earn points toward discounts and gift cards. Every Target designer has an account on Studio Connect, which they can use to ask members questions about products, trends or styles. Members are split into various subgroups, like those who have kids and those who don't.
- The app reportedly looks like Instagram, complete with large square photos in an endless feed, avatars in round circles, the ability to tap a heart to like something and dozens of comments providing feedback on each post.
Target's Studio Connect app helps the retailer get an early look at customer preferences and changing tastes, which can rapidly shift as consumers share their experiences on social media and influence their friends and followers. Traditional market research methods can take weeks or months, but social media can deliver consumer feedback almost instantaneously. Target also collects user feedback from its website and in stores to keep its finger on the pulse of consumer trends to add or adjust product offerings. While Studio Connect links Target with a select group of customers, it has also undertaken larger mobile efforts. Previously, the retailer teamed with Pinterest on a visual search function and with Google on the tech giant's first voice-activated coupon.
About two-thirds (66%) of brands have adopted social commerce features in the past year, as marketers use social media to create awareness, drive transactions and provide customer service, according to researcher Gartner. Social networks have started to offer more commerce features, leading about 41% of brands to adopt shoppable content options from Instagram, while 17% make use of Facebook's similar-minded shoppable brand pages, per the study of 424 brands.
Target is among the retailers that are rolling out discounts to compete with Amazon, whose Prime Day is scheduled for July 16. The annual event has many residual benefits for competitors as consumers comparison-shop before making a purchase. Prime Day is expected to see blowout sales growth of 42% to $3.4 billion this year from $2.4 billion last year as the company expands to more countries, per Women's Wear Daily. Walmart, Kohl's, Macy's and Target this week introduced significant discounts on a wide range of products.