Target carts pull more than their weight

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Target carts pull more than their weight

Target’s commitment to quality in many areas, including sustainability, helps some customers overcome the retailer’s most recent security mishap.

I am a fairly regular visitor to Target. And while I’ve long been aware of the company’s focus on sustainability, I realized just how seriously Target takes it on a recent shopping trip.

The learning began when I grabbed one of the store’s new shopping carts.  The carts had been redesigned some time earlier, to great fanfare, but this was the first time I had actually seen one. While it resembled your prototypical shopping cart, it had a sleeker design and a more space-age feel. The cart was lightweight, didn’t pull to one side or the other, and made no annoying squeaks—and it turned on a dime! It was obvious that a lot of planning had gone into the final product.

As I was checking out, I made a remark to the cashier about the new cart design, and she immediately started to rattle off facts about it. While I don’t remember every stat, she specifically mentioned that the cart was made out of recycled plastics and that parts could be replaced, giving it a longer functional life than that of a metal cart. And while these facts were impressive, what really caught my attention was how knowledgeable this Target employee was.

I read regularly about companies that theoretically embrace sustainability, Target among them. But it is rare to find it embodied in frontline employees who actually interact with customers and help color-in brand perception. As a customer, I walked away with the feeling that Target really cares about sustainability and is investing in educating its employees about it, not just publishing an annual corporate sustainability report for the sake of investors, environmentalists and general PR value.

And that perception is critical for Target now. Like millions of others, I received a call from my bank right before the holidays saying my account was compromised because of the security breach of credit/debit card records and PINs at Target. And, like millions of others, I was pretty ticked off about it. Although we live in a world where financial data theft is a common problem, and this type of thing has happened to me before, I expected more from Target.

So the dilemma for me (and millions of others) is whether to shop there again. I have some faith Target will install safeguards and do everything in its power not to let this happen again. But I weigh this alongside other factors, such as product selection, customer service and sustainability efforts. The upshot? I will shop there again, with some portion of that decision based on Target’s sustainability efforts. If this had happened at a different retailer, I would not likely be so forgiving.

The key takeaway here is that a commitment to sustainability shows me a desire to consider all the things that matter and not to cut corners for the sake of profit. And while that attention to detail was overlooked in a critical area in this case, Target’s sustainability commitment shows me that they do want to get it right. I’m guessing their new dedication to security will be even stronger than that of other retailers. And I’m willing to give them a second chance.

A good shopping cart can really make a difference!

About the Author

Jim Lyza

Jim Lyza

Jim is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.