|Location:||175 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON N1G 5L4
|Date of Visit:||March 06, 2013|
On March 05, 2013 Target opened it’s first three stores in Canada. Located in Fergus (Ontario), Guelph (Ontario), and Milton (Ontario), these “pilot” stores were testing grounds for the nation wide opening of Target retail stores.
Competition is good, though it is unlikely they’ll have the same low prices as in US. Canada is a different market and prices are heavily influenced by distributors. What Target will likely excel at is a better shopping experience with slightly higher prices than volume discounters, but lower prices than surrounding retailers.
Upon arrival the famous Target logo is well displayed on the outside of the building. In addition the stop signs and building decorations have Target inspired branding. The entrance itself was well labeled with clear signs above the door. Inside uniquely designed shopping carts awaited customers along with staff members. There were no flyers as this was a soft “opening” and supply distribution chains were still being worked out. Nonetheless, the store was well designed and labeled. Signs clearly marked the different sections and aisle.
I have visited Target in US many times and this store definitely maintains the vibe.
In addition, staff were everywhere and well trained in the Target ways as they offered help to any one in their vicinity. And yes, they were also wearing their bright red Target shirts for easy visibility.
There was a Starbucks coffee licensed outlet inside Target. It was near the entrance on the left. They also had a window display, near the entrance, with the Starbucks’ logo so that customers can not miss it.
It was only a soft opening and shelves were still being stocked. As a result, there were some empty shelves, most notably in the entertainment section. However, there were plenty of notices to let customers know of the situation.
Target has always claimed to be customer oriented and friendly. A big part of that in the states was their competitive prices and very liberal price matching policy. On a side note, back in the day when I lived in US, items could be returned without a receipt three months after purchase. It is unlikely they will be as lenient here and those policies have changed.
Anyway, low price guarantees and return policies were prominently displayed all through out the stores. The terms and conditions were printed in large legible fonts. It looks they will maintain their friendly return policy and honor the terms without a hassle.
Price Scanners and More
Price scanners were located all throughout the store. In addition, there were customer assistance buttons and maps distributed throughout the store.
TVs, movies, video games, cameras, and computers were found in the back of the store. The selection was smaller than the Futureshop down the road, but better laid out and more focused. For example, their were 5 notebooks on one display, and 10 tablets (iPad, etc) on another display.
On the opposite end, were the $5 movies. Selection was poor compared to Walmarts, but far superior in layout. There was no bin to rummage through, but a nice shelved display making it easier to browse the titles.
Groceries / Household Goods
There were dry goods and frozen goods. Of interest was 4L milk for $4.24 which was similar in price to No Frills and Food Basics.
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, electric shavers were also competitively priced compared to Walmart.
Prices in general were slightly higher than high volume competitors like Walmart. However, looking around there were notably cheaper items like milk. It’s a case of being a smart shopper and comparing prices.
On the other hand, the price difference is small. The convenience of the location and the overall shopping experience may be more important to Canadians.
There were two options for checkout. One was the self checkout machine, and the other was the well staffed cash registers. Both appeared to be moving quickly and smoothly.
Though it is too early too pass judgment on overall prices, I will definitely be shopping at Target. The convenience of picking up a $5 DVD and some cheap milk, combined with a pleasant shopping experience is worth it.
Target Canada does not have the discount prices of their US stores, and that is too be expected. What they have done is maintain the pleasant shopping experience with a customer friendly presentation.