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Gomez: loyalty needs a reward

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NEW YORK — One of the keys to Target Corp.’s success has been the love its most loyal fans always have for the retailer.

But Target chief marketing and digital officer Rick Gomez argued at the NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show conference here that customer loyalty has to be rewarded, and in a way that is meaningful to those customers.

Gomez explained that a few years ago, as his team was beginning to think about building a new loyalty program, a Target guest named Josie said something that clarified what was at stake for the retailer.

“Josie basically summed it up in one sentence: ‘Sometimes it feels like I love Target more than target loves me.’

“And you know what? Josie wasn’t necessarily wrong. Now I’d argue that Josie’s love for Target wasn’t just a one-way street. But what Josie was experiencing really underscored why it was so important for us to get loyalty right. Because we’re trying to show our guests that we appreciate them and to give them something special for shopping at Target. But we made it awfully hard on them to navigate through everything that we were trying to do.”

That insight was key to the development of Target Circle, the new loyalty program the retailer introduced in October. Target Circle now has 50 million active users and was connected to more than 40% of the retailer’s sales during the holiday season. “It started with listening to our guests and asking what they wanted,” Gomez said. “Not what’s best for Target, but what’s best for our guests. Our brand is at its best when we’re not complicated and transactional, but easy and inspiring; when we’re personalized and intuitive.”


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