Target is coming to Canada. Who doesn’t know Target?! Like the Nike swoosh and the McDonald’s M, the Target logo is very recognizable. Having billboards throughout the city with just the logo and the words “Coming in Winter 2013” would be a good way to start the buzz. That’s when the first location is expected to open at Grant Park Mall with others to follow in Spring 2013. The Winter 2013 could be replaced by a specific date, once it is known, to create further anticipation.
IKEA distributed a compelling booklet to all Winnipeg households outlining their values, what they have to offer and how they will benefit the community. To quell any fears of a USA invasion, Target could borrow this strategy. Points they can tout are job creation, gas savings from the eliminated need for cross-border shopping and how they contribute to communities through volunteerism, education grants, charitable contributions, etc.
Winnipegers have a reputation for loving a deal. The best way to engage them is through some significant grand opening specials. Having daily specials throughout the grand opening week will bring some shoppers out several times. Shoppers should be invited to bring a non-perishable food item for a local food bank in exchange for a reusable shopping bag. This will not only be a show of support for a local charity but also provide traveling advertising as people use their bags for things other than shopping. (gym bag, lunch bag, shoe bag, etc.)
It’s human nature to react more strongly to negative things than positive things. Target should endeavour to avoid negative publicity, both formal publicity and through word of mouth, by striving to have the grand opening go smoothly. This would include having a sufficient team to manage greeting the press at the ribbon cutting, having ample staff to serve customers and restock shelves during the initial buzz and having an abundant supply of sale items. Making the initial Canadian Target shopping experience as pleasant as possible for people will go a long way to cementing their arrival on Canadian soil as a positive thing in peoples’ minds.