Some Thoughts on How Target Could Sell More Food to Families

August 22, 2017

It's a long way from the clothing to the grocery department.

The beauty of Target, particularly for parents, is the opportunity to check off your list a multitude of items for the whole family in one trip. Busy parents don’t have time to shop around, and for that reason, Amazon has an advantage. But we’ve got some ideas for Target to sell more food to families. 

But first let’s consider what one shopping trip for a parent could typically mean. Starting at the beginning of the store, with kids in tow, mom or dad hits up the accessories and clothing sections, perhaps needing a pair of sunglasses, socks, oh…and look there’s a cute outfit on sale, next up shoes…the kids need shoes! And then there’s the baby supplies section, gotta have diapers, wipes and baby shampoo, and a new sippy cup OR someone in the community just had a baby, so a baby gift is needed. 

Then let’s move on to the electronics, mom just lost her car phone charger, gotta have one of those asap. And there’s the books! The kids need something new to read. The movie, Captain Underpants just came out, and all the kids are buzzing about it, so it’s super handy that the books are on display right there in full view. And don’t forget the soccer ball in the sporting goods department - the season starts next week! 

Next, it’s the beginning of the school year, and the kids need a new lunch box or backpack or those handy little cold packs to keep lunch fresh, check! Moving on to the home items, the coffee maker just died, so she/he will need one of those, or a spatula, salt and pepper shakers, a picture frame for the kids new school pictures, a lamp…and the beauty of all of this is that Target has style! So many modern, cute, or cool things to choose from for the home. It may take a little extra time to browse.

BUT the kids are getting restless, and little Joey keeps disappearing in the aisles, and little Jenny is whining about a toy she wants but can’t have. Still mom or dad presses on, because they haven’t even reached the food section yet, and meltdowns are in the beginning stages. Every parent knows that there is little time between the beginning and the peak of a child meltdown. And these episodes are much harder to control in public when you are trying to get things done!

So mom/dad finally makes it to the far end of the store where the groceries are located, and by now the kids are falling apart, so this needs to be quick. The parent really likes the selection of fresh foods and organic items, but the plan has suddenly changed. A decision is made to abandon a full grocery trip and just grab the milk, eggs, bread, apples and a few snack items needed to get through the day. 

The result, parents leave without fulfilling their grocery needs, everyone is grumpy, and the food list is postponed to the next day when the kids are at school and mom or dad can hit up the local supermarket. 

This is a common scenario.

So what could Target do to make things easier for parents, and in turn sell more food? 

1. Grocery pickup! Let’s say customers could submit a grocery order through an app before they enter the store. The app works so that order is submitted, mom or dad does all the other household shopping, pays for everything (including the groceries) in one checkout, and then drives to a pickup space for attendants to load the groceries into the car. 

2. Separate Entrance for Food. If Target offered an entrance through the grocery section, parents might be able to just shop for groceries without the kids having to wind their way through the entire store, passing the toy section and cool household items without the temptation of spending too much time in those parts of the store. 

3. Delivery. If Target isn’t going to offer grocery delivery, then work with companies like Shipt to market more of their services. This is a service that depending on your zip code, offers personal shopping at select retailers and delivers the same day. Target could work with more third party delivery services to help those shoppers that find the food selection appealing. 

We feel with more attention paid to family shoppers, Target could significantly up their game with food sales. And it will be necessary if the retailer wants to compete with Amazon!