Monday, October 26, 2009

Channeling Paco Underhill

1. I observed the Target store in Dearborn Heights. Target's demographics indicate that the majority of their customers are middle-class to upper middle-class people who are looking to meet the basic needs and luxuries of everyday life.

2. Store Entrance. The main colors of Target's entrance were beige concrete, brick red, and the unmistakable lettering and target symbol in a very saturated red color. Along the edge of the walkway in front of the store, near the street, were several large, waist-high spheres in the same color of red as the lettering and target symbol. The doors were automatic sliding doors.
Sounds. The most prominent sounds heard in the front half of the store were the sounds of the check out lanes. These included people talking, cash registers opening, items being scanned, and occasionally kids begging frustrated parents for the impulse-buys in the checkout lanes.
Merchandise Displays. Most of the small to medium sized merchandise were displayed on beige-painted metal racks. Other items, such as groceries that must be refrigerated, were displayed predictably in large refrigerators with clear doors. Clothes were mostly on hangars in the common circular displays rather than on shelves. The shelved clothing was on the outside of the clothing section, near the main walkway.
Floors. The floors of the main walkway and most of the sections were a sort of ivory-gray color with a vinyl finish if I'm not mistaken. There was evidence of high traffic, such as skid marks from kids' shoes and the shopping carts, but for the most part, the floor was clean. The clothing sections were carpeted in a neutral, grayish, steel blue color.
Signs. The signs that "labeled" the different sections of the store were curved rectangular signs. They were dominantly red with very legible white lettering. The smaller signs, such as the signs that clarified which grocery isle was which or what specific items were found in that section were either rectangular or circular. They were either red with white lettering or white with red lettering.
Cashier Area. The cashier lanes were all red. At the entrance of each lane were displays of either movies, magazines, or snack foods like chocolate or cookies. There were also some coolers with bottled beverages. Above the conveyer belts was the typical impulse-buy assortment of gum and mints. Also displayed there were various gift cards, to iTunes, Target, etc.
3. I feel that Target is trying to send out 'classy, yet affordable' vibes to their audience. They are trying to (and in my opinion, they have) tied this image to their name, and therefore, even tied the image to their well-known color scheme. As described above, this 'target red' was everywhere.
4. Customers in the main walkways tended to walk at a moderately slow pace while looking predominantly to one side as they pushed their carts. In the clothing sections, they moved throughout slowly, touching pieces of clothing now and then. In the grocery section, the customers acted predictably. They moved to the general area they were looking for, and after a few sections of looking, reached for the product, looked at it, and usually put it into their cart or basket. The biggest thing I noticed was that all of the customers touched many of the products, whether it seemed that they were really considering buying them or not.
5. One thing I found interesting about the store was the layout of the different sections. The first big section after the entrance was clothing for young and teenaged girls. I would think that this section would usually be more in the back. Instead, the section farthest away from the entrance was the sports and camping sections. The grocery section is also very visible from just outside the "decompression zone" of the store. This leads to the conclusion that Target is confident in its customers' loyalty and doesn't use the typical tricks, such as putting dairy products in the back of stores, to manipulate customers.

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