July 30, 2014 | In: Consumer - Non Cyclical

Why Target Canada Excels as a Retailer

I love Target. I do a lot of shopping there and I’m really happy that they opened, late last year, a decent branch in downtown Montreal. I have to admit that I love Target more than FutureShop. But why?

Well, the first thing that is great about Target is the customer service. FutureShop employees will not even go near you if they think they won’t make a commission out of you, that’s not the same about Target. They’re really, really good, and they don’t pressure you to buy anything. They’re happy that you’re there but they just don’t force you to buy.

Additionally, you can always find a Target employee to help you, and if you can’t find one, then there’s some sort of buzzer that you can press and within a maximum of 2 minutes, someone will be there to help you. Compare that to Canadian Tire (a retailer that I really don’t like – by the way, probably the only 2 things that Canadian Tire has that are actually made in Canada are seeds and rubber boots) where you have to wait nearly 15 minutes for someone to help you.

The last thing that I want to mention about their customer support is that they’re very knowledgeable and very friendly. It’s unbelievable, it’s like being in Canada in the 1950′s. Seriously. You get the feeling that they love their jobs, that they have a cause to make Target better, unlike other retailers where you feel that the only reason the employees are working for them is because they can’t find better jobs.

Price matching is also a breeze with Target, you just have to tell them that the item is selling less for another major retailer and they’ll check it themselves. They won’t ask you for a printout, they’ll check it themselves. Some retailers are really mean about price matching but not Target. Target’s price matching is so good that the retailer is constantly abused by many of its customers: these customers bring brochures from a remote province and price-match it with Target. A hypothetical example (that can be true in real life) is a customer living in Cape Spear, claiming that he found the toothbrush of his dreams selling for $2.99 at a small retailer in Vancouver. Of course, the customer is deliberately oblivious that it’ll probably cost another $2.99 to ship that toothbrush from Vancouver to his home on Cape Spear. Target, until very recently, had no problem price-matching that toothbrush, but they have introduced a new policy in past few days that will restrict price matching to local major retailers, which means that the Vancouver to Cape Spear trick will no longer work anymore.

Cheap prices is another reason why I love Target. They have rotating offers on many hot-selling items (some of them are technology items) and they do offer rain checks if you can’t find the item. By the way, what I find very interesting and courteous from Target is that when they run out of a certain item, they place rain checks over the price tag of that item. How cool is that?

Now, if you live in Canada, you probably know by now that it’s really hard to find a retailer with a clean floor, especially during winter. That’s not the case with Target, the floor is so clean that you can literally see yourself in it, and the whole place smells very good, despite the fact that they have a food section.

The last thing I love about Target is the variety – they really have everything, and what they have is usually of better quality than many other retailers.

I hope that Target keeps growing here in Canada, maybe other retailers will notice that and start working on themselves. By the way, Target (NYSE:TGT) is down around 14.5% so far this year. I’m sure though that Target would be an excellent investment over the long term. You can beat good prices, but you can’t beat excellent customer service, and that’s what’s Target is all about.

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