Target Canada: Online Stores Are The Least of Its Problems

By Mana Tulberg

Read the latest edition of Business Review Canada!

Due to the numerous advantages that online shopping offers, more people are leaning towards cyber shopping rather than the conventional shopping.  However, when a retailer such as Target develops a disappointing impression in all 133 of its Canadian outlets, creating an online store should be the least of its worries.  Considering its performance so far, Target in Canada needs to concentrate all of its efforts in rebuilding the brand’s reputation.   

Misunderstanding customers’ needs, inventory issues, and higher prices than its American counterpart have left the Canadian consumers with a rather negative Target experience.  Online reviews are now a big part of consumers’ decision making.  Once the word of a bad shopping experience spreads throughout the web, regaining a brand’s reputation should then become its first priority. 

“The worst possible thing you can do is have a website when you have supply chain and inventory issues,” says David Soberman, a marketing professor at the University of Toronto.

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Even if Target Canada had an online store, the likelihood of Canadian customers spending their precious hours on a store with irrelevant products and inventory problems would be very slim.  

Online shoppers rely heavily on punctual delivery schedules.  While every year online giant retailers such as Amazon focus on improving their delivery systems, Target Canada would have a difficult time competing before it absolves the stain on its reputation.  Not many shoppers, even offered significant savings, would shop online from a store that may or may not have their desired item in stock in order to be delivered on time.

Before Target Canada invests in creating an effective online shopping experience for its Canadian shoppers, 2015 would be a good time for the retailer to augment its supply networks while offering competitive prices on merchandise that pertains to Canadians. 

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