New energy in electronics

Several initiatives in the electronics area announced last week should help Target narrow the competitive gap while improving customer satisfaction and minimizing returns. The company created a free service called 1-877-myTGTtech to assist customers with questions and provide technical support. A new Target Mobile offering takes advantage of a relationship with RadioShack to create in-store mobile centers that will be in 850 stores by year-end and chain-wide by 2011. The third initiative involves a trade-in offering whereby customers can return used equipment and devices and receive credits toward future purchases. The trade-in program launched in Northern California on Aug. 24, will rollout to additional stores in September and will be available in approximately 850 stores by the end of the year. Customers bring their items to the Target Mobile counter for appraisal, which can range from a few dollars up to more than $200. At the beginning of the year Target began offering a nationwide TV delivery and installation service.

Tech services and product installation go a long way toward addressing the issue of customer satisfaction and minimizing returns which directly correlate to the increasing sophistication and complexity associated with purchasing and installing a television.Frankly, the upgrades to Target’s electronics offerings and services are overdue. The company had slipped in recent years, especially relative to a company like Best Buy, but even compared with Walmart where considerable emphasis had been placed on upgrading the branded product offering and an improved customer experience.