It has been twelve months since Target announced that it will come to Canada through the purchase of up to 220 Zellers leaseholds across Canada.
For us here at Sales Is Not Simple it has been a busy year of getting to know Target a whole lot better, deciphering and predicting their next moves as they gear up to enter the Canadian market; and working with the vendor community to share our insights and help them prepare to start discussions with Target Canada.
What have we learned?
1) Target is first and foremost a fashion retailer that will use this strength to draw traffic to their stores.
2) Food will be available at Target stores in Canada – but just how much food and when it will be introduced is still up in the air.
3) Tier 1 vendors with a US presence are playing a key role in the initial assortment / shelving of CPG categories in Canada, while smaller vendors have had little or no contact with Target to-date.
4) It will take 9-12 months to renovate each store and finding the skilled trades to renovate the stores to Target’s standard is tough in today’s labour market.
5) It is a good time to be a good merchant or store operator, with Target having a huge recruiting task in front of them. Target will look to build their Canadian ranks by enticing the best and brightest employees from their competitors.
But where do we go from here? We are still a long way from receiving the first purchase orders from Target and this will make the next twelve months relatively challenging for potential vendors.
To ensure success a vendor must:
1) Learn Target inside and out. This is “Sales 101” but knowing your customer in intimate detail is the first step to success.
2) Determine what role you want Target Canada to play in your overall business strategy in 2013 and 2016.
3) Assess impacts on existing customers volumes and the corresponding financial implications on your P&L.
4) Develop a transition plan for Zellers volume in 2012 and use the opportunity to shift volume towards more profitable / strategic accounts.
5) Determine the right structure for you to service Target, nominate your best and brightest to the roles and get them trained and “Targetized” ASAP.
2012 will be an exciting year as vendors adapt to the changes Target is bringing to their business and strategize the opportunities that lay ahead.
If you are still looking at Target as an opportunity for your business but you don’t know exactly where to start, consider joining our one day “Selling Target In Canada” workshop which will be held in Mississauga this Thursday, January 26th.