Target has developed a secret app with an interface that closely resembles that of Instagram to gather insights into the minds of its customers.
According to the retailer, the app’s main purpose is to gather feedback on product development, with an aim to drive better product selection and faster turnaround of stock to give the company a competitive advantage in the fast-paced retail space. Users can like and comment on pictures, much like a social media feed.
A designer asking for possible mothers-day catchphrases on a t-shirt, receives an average of 40-50 user responses in 24 hours. Furthermore, after an average of 10 hours the design team can already gather common themes and start to incorporate the feedback into its product development, reportedly.
Studio Connect, as the app is called, was first developed back in 2016, but is only accessible through a direct invitation by Target. It never has more than 600 members. Participants are selected by Target through evaluating online survey answers and check out feedback forms, after which they are then categorized into relevant marketing segments (such as if they having children in the household or not). This information is then also used to help the retailer analyze consumer patterns and understand more about its customers’ behavior.
Target offers no monetary awards, although users can gather points that can be used for discounts and special offers.
The app has also been used as a crowdsourcing tool, with children encouraged to take part in a design contest and upload drawings of designs. Target’s creative team then found that many children were drawing a similar color pattern, which they then printed on a pair of leggings.
It has also helped the retailer to offer more inclusive clothing by gathering feedback by parents with disabled children, which resulted in the launch of a completely new clothing line.
Studio Connect is just one of numerous innovations by the retailer, which also recently invested in its beauty section by introducing augmented reality and text-to-chat robot.