Miller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.
Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between
Toronto – April 1, 2013
Target has been making a big splash in Canada recently as they held soft openings for their first group of stores in March. It has been a long journey for Target since they announced their plans to enter Canada more than two years ago. “This has given us a lot of time to get to know the Canadian market,” says Tony Fisher, President of Target Canada. “However, it has also given our competition two years to prepare for our arrival.”
Moving into a new market is always a tricky strategy. Here are some strategies Target employed to make the transition easier and more successful:
- They became a part of the community-From the outset, Target got involved with local communities and charities. They donated proceeds as well as employee time, and have set a very ambitious target for the number of employee volunteer hours. Target also developed exclusive partnerships with local designers and 99% of all employees to be hired will be Canadian. They immersed themselves in the Canadian culture and are really trying to be part of the local and national community.
- They practice responsible speed–Many organizations would try to accelerate the move into a new market in order to minimize their competitors’ ability to prepare. Target decided to take a more responsible approach. Realizing that moving into Canada was their first international expansion, they didn’t roll out too quickly. They spent two years learning the culture and buying habits of Canadians and after each group of store openings, they debrief and identify lessons learned for the next set of store openings.
- They used experience to make improvements–Target made sure to leverage best practices that had been identified from their stores in the US, and then made changes based on feedback from the Canadian soft openings. It would appear easy to say that any company would do this, but too many organizations try to start from scratch in a new market and forget what has made them successful.
- They executed quickly–Although they spent two years learning the marketplace, once the strategy was developed, they executed quickly. By the end of 2013, Target will have more than 100 stores open. They took their time starting up, but then pushed down on the accelerator once the model was ready.
“Target put a lot of time and effort into learning the Canadian market and developing a responsible growth strategy,” says Andrew Miller, President of ACM Consulting. “And let’s not forget how quickly they are now executing that strategy. This should significantly increase their chances for success because there is not a lot of time for competitors to learn their strategy and adjust to it.“
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