‘Tis the season for shopping and gift giving. Just in time for the peak holiday shopping rush, Target is introducing a smarter, real-time shopping experience with its new “Awesome Shop.” Currently in beta launch, the site curates Target’s most popular and trending offerings from its website and Pinterest data into a visually stunning eCommerce experience.
The site (awesomeshop.target.com) was designed with the goal of creating a better online shopping experience. Inspired by Pinterest, the Target Awesome Shop combines the look and feel of a curated visual shopping catalogue with real-time data to better identify the top gifts and must-have items.
The site is refreshed daily with data from Target.com and Pinterest and only features items that have at least 4 stars, or no reviews at all because they’re new and attracting significant interest. Target is also bringing extensions of The Awesome Shop to its physical stores by leveraging iPads and flagging merchandise on displays.
As if this wasn’t impressive enough, the Target Awesome Shop was reportedly built in a few weeks by the company’s RAD (Rapid Accelerated Development) team, an in-house group of digital specialists who are focused on innovation and leveraging new technologies.
Although the site is fairly new, the company has confirmed future potential to integrate into Target.com and an interest in exploring a stronger tie-in with additional social media platforms.
So, what can companies and brands learn from the Target Awesome Shop?
Own Your Innovation
Following the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoeniz, AZ, the New York Times published a somewhat comical but true article about how the catchphrase of the year is becoming, “Innovate or Die.” Marketers are operating in an era of unprecedented change and disruption. If you don’t own your innovation, who will?
During my days at TripAdvisor, the CEO and Founder Steve Kaufer had the phrase “Speed Wins” handwritten on a piece of paper and taped to his office door – and for good reason. Big companies are notorious for slow execution. It is easy to get hung up in process and approvals. Those that can streamline the process, build, test and launch quickly continue to be rewarded. Startups are known for this, but it’s inspiring to see a big company like Target embrace this philosophy and lead by example.
Solve Customer Pain Points & Wishes
Solving your customer’s pain points and making their lives easier will never go out of style. That’s why this effort is so smart – holiday gift giving can be stressful and understanding what the crowd thinks is interesting might just make the decision process a little easier. Sure, naysayers may point to the need in seeking out special, one of a kind items, but in a time-crunched world, this a great solution. Plus, with the data changing daily, new items will likely surface.
Plan & Test for What’s Next
Launching an experience like this quickly means new versions and extensions will need to be planned and revised in real-time. As seen with in-store tests and talks of further social integration, it’s critical to evaluate how to best maximize the customer experience across multiple touch points throughout the purchase life cycle. Don’t be afraid to test and learn. Embrace the customer feedback to find out what truly resonates. It could make all the difference in taking the product or experience from good to great.
A special thank you to one of my favorite innovators, Ekaterina Walter, for suggesting this great column idea!