How Target Brought the Holiday Magic This Season

  • Jan 10, 2019
a group of people sitting in a room with a dog

What a year it’s been for Team Target! Today, we’re wrapping up the 2018 holiday season with an update on our November-December financial results—which included comp sales growth of 5.7 percent—and a look at how we made the busiest time of year easy and fun for guests.

What did it take to bring the holidays to life? Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan and Chief Stores Officer Janna Potts weighed in. 

Looking back on the season, what did Target set out to do and how did we accomplish it?
We made a promise to our guests—by offering the broadest range of fulfillment options in retail, we would deliver every purchase when, where and how they wanted it, all season long. And we could do that because of the ongoing investments we’ve made in our stores: opening new locations and remodeling hundreds more, offering new fulfillment capabilities and creating engaging in-store experiences. Guests noticed and shopped us more often.

Our store teams nailed it—serving guests both in stores and online. They filled three-quarters of our digital volume during the busy holiday months, fueling our digital growth. And they handled 60 percent more items through Order Pickup, Drive Up and ship from store than last year.

Janna: We couldn’t have done it without all the team members who worked in our stores this season! Not only did stores handle the vast majority of the digital business, they kept their stores stocked and sparkling and provided outstanding guest service week after week, including record-breaking sales days around Black Friday and the final days leading up to Christmas.

This year, we dedicated double the number of seasonal positions to help fulfill online orders compared to last year, and continued our investment in training for all team members to help them better serve our guests. I got to see the team’s strong execution and amazing energy firsthand as I traveled across the country visiting dozens of states and hundreds of stores to see the team in action.

How did we make each experience easy and inspiring for guests?
John: Our goal was to take the stress out of holiday shopping so guests could enjoy more time with family and friends. And this year made for a lot of Target firsts: We offered Free 2-Day Shipping on hundreds of thousands of items and guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24 for eligible orders. We made Drive Up and same-day delivery with Shipt available from coast to coast, meaning guests across the country could count on more of our delivery and pickup services right up to the last minute on Christmas Eve.

Janna: The best part is, we made things easy without sacrificing the excitement and fun that comes with holiday shopping. Families were inspired by in-store experiences like our curated gifting displays throughout the store and Wondershop, which has become a much-loved Target tradition and go-to destination for trees, snacks, décor and all things holiday.

What were guests shopping for this year?
Guests shopped every category in our assortment. They picked up baby gear and kids’ toys and gifts, like L.O.L. Surprise! and Barbie Dreamhouse, along with electronics like the Nintendo Switch—it was flying off shelves! As families hosted and attended gatherings, décor and kitchen items like air fryers and Keurig coffeemakers were popular. Gifts and stocking stuffers like our Wondershop treats, gingerbread house kits and candy were big hits, too.

Guests loved our Black Friday deals—especially our popular early access sale exclusively for REDcard holders. And the Weekend Deals we offered throughout the season were a huge hit, combined with offers from our Weekly Ad, Cartwheel and more, all of which added up to amazing savings.

John: This year, we made bolder bets on the products we knew guests would be most excited to give and to get. And we focused our resources to pick up market share in important categories like toys—by adding more than 2,500 new and exclusive toys, offering new, reimagined experiences in our toy aisles and online, and dedicating more spaces in our catalogs, ads and promotions, we showed guests Target was the place to go for all things toys.

So how would you sum up Target’s 2018 holiday season?
John: The work our teams did to pull off the holiday season was incredible. Everything we’ve done over the past two years got us to where we are today and has set us up for future success. We’re on track to deliver Target’s strongest full-year comparable sales growth in more than a decade—and I couldn’t be prouder of this amazing team that made it all happen.

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