MARIA OGNEVA'S BLOG
Hello, and welcome to my blog and the digital home for my thoughts. Most know me as @themaria, my handle across most social media sites and communities. My actual, given name is Maria Ogneva, and I love writing, traveling, eating, and spending time with my new husband.
I am passionate about how social media is changing the way we communicate, help and relate to each other, share news and make the world a smaller, more hospitable place. I work at Salesforce as Director of Product Marketing on the Communities product, where my job is to help customers (and the world at large) to be successful in building communities. I learn every day, and I share my thoughts and personal growth here.
Please note that the views expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer or any of our clients.
Consumers have many shopping options, and retailers are starting to realize that. Brick and mortar retailers (well, at least some of them) are working hard to stay relevant and compete with more efficient and ubiquitous online retailers, and now that social media and realtime communications have blown conventional fashion and retail secrecy to pieces, the consumer is expecting a new level of transparency, engagement and response.
Yesterday I experienced something I liked at at Target To-Go. It’s an innovative holiday shopping concept developed by Target and Kaplow PR. It’s a limited-time pop-up shop aimed at the city shopper. I love Target, but I am a city dweller without a car, so my Target shopping is now limited to online, and in-store when I go visit my parents in DC suburbs. I was excited for my first Target experience in a major city. The To-go shop is open today (12.11.09) through Sunday (12.11.09) in New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.
This is how it works: 50 items that are perfect for gift giving (or self-pampering) are displayed in large windows, ranging from a $0.99 ornament to Wii fit and iPod Nano. You get a clipboard and check off the items that you want, then get assigned to a window number, where you pick up your items, each individually wrapped in a fun and festive red bag. And you get a large reusable red shopping bag in which to carry all of your new “shopping therapy”. Efficiency: check, great gifts: check, great prices: check, awesome gift bags: check, eco-cool shopping bag: check, easy return process (back to the same store or any other regular retail location): check, hot beverages on-site: check. Awesome merchandising: check, great branding for Target via the pop-up shop and large shopping totes: check, capturing a new customer segment: check. Holiday cheer: very large check. My only concern is the weather cooperating, since it’s 100% outside, and we are looking at a cold rainy weekend in San Fran.
What I especially liked about the Target To-go execution is the social media component. If you have been following my writing and tweets, you will know how much I love blending the online and the offline elements, especially in the retail environment. It works exceptionally well as part of a retailer’s or brand’s Twitter engagement to lead into in-store events and contests. Here’s where Target To-go excels, in my opinion. To drum up excitement and community participation, Target is doing a scavenger hunt. You can grab your first clue via a special gift box, the general location of which is tweeted out, and then follow the clues to a winning gift card. Gift cards come in various denominations, from $10 to$500, and for every found gift certificate, Target donates to Salvation Army as part of their longstanding partnership. Charity, puzzles and free stuff: as a community manager, I approve.
Disclaimer: I participated in the pre-launch press event, where I was given a free gift card of a fairly nominal amount. I am writing a positive blog post because I love Target, and I think this is a great execution. The free gift card did not affect my viewpoint.