Target Has a Secret That Could Change the Way We Shop

Target's members-only app connects designers with consumers.
  • Target has a members-only app to connect Target designers to customers.
  • Only 600 people are invited to the app where users can give designers ideas about products they want.

Forget the age-old construct of buying something you might like, you can now buy things you want, created exactly the way you want them — perhaps even created by you. Target has secretly been making this possible thanks to its members-only app that allows shoppers to have a direct influence on the designs of items they want to buy.

Since 2016, the retail giant has quietly given only 600 members exclusive access to an Instagram-like app that connects customers to Target designers. The users are selected based on online research and receipt polls, according to Fast Company.

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The Studio Connect app allows Target designers to ask exactly what the shoppers want, from T-shirt designs for Mother’s Day to interior decor, and it’s even been used to get feedback from families with kids with autism and physical disabilities to expand its Cat & Jack clothing line to better accommodate their needs.

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“Our guests are at the center of everything we do. We’re constantly engaging with them through a number of forums — like guest reviews on Target.com, social media, in our stores, and Studio Connect — to give them an opportunity to weigh in on what they like and don’t like,” Julie Guggemos, senior vice president of product design and development at Target, said to Fast Company.

And thanks to Target’s app, buyers aren’t just getting what they like, they’re creating what they will buy. One young girl submitted her drawing of a clothing line, and her designs inspired clothes that actually hit Target stores, something her mother was alerted of shortly after they became available.

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But there’s some potential for criticism with the new app, as members aren’t being paid or given public credit for their ideas that could turn into products — and eventually money for Target. The company does allow users to earn points toward discounts and gift cards, and users could end up creating the exact product they want to buy. But, they will still have to shell out the cash for it.

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