Target Corp. has given its Black Friday and broader holiday strategy a once-over. The retailer on Monday revealed new types of offers, pricing and technology refinements. The Minneapolis-based mass merchant’s Black Friday lineup will feature “Target’s lowest prices ever.”
A tightly edited range of items are available today-only in categories such as toys, electronics and entertainment, among others. Beats Studio2 wireless headphones are reduced to $159.99 from $379.99; “La La Land” Blu-ray DVD, $9, down from $19.99. A new innovation will apply discounts automatically at checkout without the need for coupons or codes. The offers will be available online and in stores until 11:59 p.m. PST.
Target is a little late to the game. Amazon on Nov. 1 opened its Black Friday shop touting 50 days of holiday deals on toys, electronics, and men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, which are discounted up to 30 percent, with free shipping on more than 100 million items. Wal-Mart began its holiday effort last week with three times the number of products in its holiday assortments online and in stores.
Target will open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and operate until midnight. “Line service ambassadors” will direct guests, answer questions and distribute tickets for select doorbusters. The company in October announced a minimum wage increase to $11 an hour for all store employees, including thousands hired as hourly holiday help.
The retailer said it’s working with team members to understand their scheduling preferences, and compensating them for working on national holidays, including Thanksgiving, at a rate of pay equal to time-and-a-half of their hourly rate. Those who work certain shifts on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the weekends leading up to Christmas will get additional compensation above the premium holiday pay. The rate will apply to the temporary employees. The retailer hired 100,000 holiday associates.
“When you consider the breadth of our Black Friday offers, guests can save more across Target than any other time of the year, with thousands of deals,” said Mark Tritton, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Beyond the big shopping event, guests can feel confident that they’ll find incredible value at Target whether they shop online or in stores. We’ll offer a steady stream of deals on Cyber Monday and our new Weekend Deals throughout the season.”
A new element of the strategy is offering holders of Target’s proprietary Red credit card first dibs on Black Friday deals in the early morning hours of Nov. 22. Shoppers who spend $50 in stores or on Target.com on Nov. 24 will get a coupon for 20 percent off purchases made between Nov. 28 and Dec. 10, a new inducement.
Chairman and chief executive officer Brian Cornell recently admitted that Target’s low-price message was a bit lost on customers. By emphasizing the first half of its “Expect More. Pay Less” brand promise, consumers didn’t give Target credit for sharp prices, he said.
The retailer made adjustments on thousands of core items so they’re “priced right daily” and moved away from the ups and downs of promotions; however, the holidays will have ample deals.
Nearly all of the deals will be available on Target.com early on Thanksgiving Day. Examples of offers include beauty gift sets, buy one get one for 50 percent off; the lowest prices yet on new Target apparel brands such as Goodfellas and A New Day, with sweaters and fleeces for the family starting at $10; nearly 1,000 toys will be priced under $10, and 2,000 under $20, along with the requisite X Boxes and Sony Playstations, and 55-inch high-def TVs.