Hitting the Retail Target in Canada – NOT EASY!!

Well, by now we are all settling into the biggest Canadian retail news for some time: That Target is closing.

Newspaper, radio, TV and online lit up with the news of this American giant falling to it knees in the Canadian retail environment. Oh how the mighty can fall!

So beyond the hype, there is a strong and consistent message that many of our wonderful Canadian independent retailers are readying for success, rising out of the shadows of these falling giants. Are you one of these champions?

Here are the key differentiators in this amazing race to retail business success:

  1. Retail Pricing

    Target did not compete successfully on price. As a Big Box retailer consumer expectation is that prices are low! Reading this as an independent retailer you may start to worry. How do I compete on price? The good news for independent is that the Price/Selection/Service triad requires excellence in two out of three. Make your prices fair but be a leader in selection and service.

  2. Product Selection

    Target did not compete successfully with its selection. This is a critical requirement to gain the attention of your customers and then retain them. Choose your vertical, know your customer intimately, and give them the selection they need to make you their first choice. This may sound like a tough ask, but when you use a planning program you can truly know what classes of merchandise your customers are shopping for. Then, it becomes far more simple to supply and support the selection that they are asking for.

  3. Customer Service

    Most if not all Big Box retailers, including Target, fail to deliver great customer service. This is a big time opportunity as an independent Canadian retailer! All consumers crave relationship, friendship and connection. Relationships and trust will keep customers coming back to independent retailers like you, as you have the ability to be better at this than big box store. Make the connection! Make the culture of your store all about making friends with great service, empathy, kindness and great product knowledge.

  4. Omni presence

    Target failed to have a way for customers to see their products online. Notice here I did not say failed to have an online store. Omni presence refers to the ability for a retailer to interact with customers outside of just the brick and mortar locations of their store. Most importantly 90% of shoppers these days will pre-shop an online store before they even set foot in a brick and mortar store. As an independent retailer you must be engaging with your customers before they enter your store. If it is not a full online store, it needs to be an interactive communication making sure you are fuelling the desire for you customers to visit.

CRS specializes in helping independent retailers learn and implement strategies for competing with big box stores. If you have questions about how you can be more competitive, please contact us or phone at 1-800-725-6810! Our team of planners would be happy to help answer them.


Scott Smith is a certified Winning@Retail™ consultant at CRS. Scott has worked with retailers for over 20 years on the sales floor, through all levels of retail management, operations, and marketing.

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