Today's Sunday NY Times had a great ad in the front section that is such a sign of the times - not the "bad economic times" you hear about everywhere, but the consumer-controlled times.
It went like this:
Tell us what more we can do for you.
We're always looking for new ways to bring you more for less. Have a suggestion for making your Target experience even better? We're all ears.
E-mail us at more@Target.com and we'll get back to you shortly
It's been true for many years that consumers are more in charge than ever. But I loved this ad because Target had the guts to actually state it out loud. Can you ever remember a time (for those Canadians out there) when the Bay or Eaton's would run an ad like that in a paper with millions of readers? Not a chance. I can barely remember a time when I called either department store and actually got a human on the phone in whatever department I was calling.
And Nordstrom became world famous, or at least famous in business schools for their customer-centric manifesto, "The Nordstrom Way" - which now seems so old hat and commonplace. Everyone's heard the story about the woman who brought back the snow tires, but Nordy's doesn't sell snow tires... they gave her a refund anyway.
Our expectations have certainly changed. I am going to try a little experiment and send Target an e-mail, then see if I get a response. Maybe I'll ask for longer store hours, or a latte machine with freebies for early morning weekend shoppers. Or maybe something more beneficial to others like a "Target makes a difference" donation box for clothing or household goods for people who have lost their jobs/homes, whereby shoppers who donate get a credit to spend that day in the store. I'll keep you posted. You may want to try the same thing and share any results you get.