Target’s New LA25 Test Rollout Hits the Customer Experience Bull’s-Eye

Target’s latest LA25 initiative tests innovations focused on presentation and service

By Michelle M. Havich

Photos courtesy of Target


There is no question that shopping has evolved over the past few years, from the way people shop to where they go. The web has everything at your fingertips, but sometimes, you need to actually touch something with those fingertips. And when you need that tactile experience in real life, it should be worth the trip to the store.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. took that to heart, along with guest feedback, when it decided to create an updated in-store experience featuring the latest in on-demand shopping. To that end, Target has launched LA25, an innovation initiative that pulls together enhancements and updates from different departments and presents them in one experience. LA25 was launched this past May at 25 of the retailer’s Los Angeles-area stores (hence the name), focusing on two major initiatives—presentation and service.

“Los Angeles is a strong market for Target, for both stores and growth, making it a great fit for testing,” says Sarah Amundsen, senior director of store design for Target. “Many of the stores we chose have some of the existing innovations in place. Additionally, the size of the market allows us to look at different stores in different locations.”

Presentation changes can be seen immediately, with new front-of-store displays that create an impact and draw guests in. According to Amundsen, Style categories are merchandised right where guests enter the store to make a statement, featuring the latest trends in apparel or home items. The displays will be rotated every eight weeks or so, to keep them current.

Also given prime in-store real estate is locally relevant product. “Stores are empowered to merchandise these front shelves with product that is more relevant to their local guest,” Amundsen says. “For example, some stores in L.A. displayed flowers, cards and wine in the days leading up to Mother’s Day. Other stores are using this space for grilling and better-for-you snack options, as guests are eating and entertaining more outdoors.”

A new cross-merchandising presentation is visible in the Home department, where products are curated and displayed in a lifestyle vignette, similar to what is done in specialty stores.

“The inspirational display, versus standard shelving, allows guests to shop everything they need for a certain area of their home without having to go to each of the different sections of the store,” Amundsen explains. From a table setting display, for example, guests can pick up everything from the plates and napkins, to the lighting and chair covers.

This kind of cross merchandising also is evident in Grocery, where everything a family needs for a backyard barbecue is right at hand—grill tools, hamburger buns, ketchup and mustard.

Also, by listening to guest feedback, the LA25 stores are stocking product on the shelves and fixtures that are on and/or adjacent to the mannequin displays, so guests can shop a complete look, all in one place.

On the service side of the equation, the Guest Services counter has been revamped with clear-cut signage and more space to accommodate fulfillment or online order pick-up, making the process easier for the customer. Updated fixtures, lighting and paint create a brighter, more inviting environment.

The store also has added one to two team members to each store called “Service Advisors,” who are “focused on providing a signature guest experience,” Amundsen explains. “The Service Advisor team members can help guests find and complete orders for product that isn’t available in the store (such as items only available at target.com), and help guests navigate our digital offerings—Cartwheel for savings, flexible fulfillment options, etc.”

While these new changes are still in their initial release, Amundsen says the response from guests has been positive. “We’re hearing that guests are giving us more credit for inspiration and service based on the enhancements made,” she says. “We are excited to test the impact these updates have on sales.”

By focusing the changes to just 25 stores in a concentrated area, Target hopes to better understand how guests respond to newness and how it impacts their shopping behaviors, Amundsen adds. “Ultimately, what we learn from LA25 will impact the next generation of store prototypes, remodels and new store openings,” she says.   

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