How @Target Missed Their Target!?

How @Target missed their target!?

The Journey began not so long ago. It all started when Target offered a unique trade-in offer for any Apple iPad, in return
for $200 towards the purchase of a new iPad.

While it was not heavily advertised, it quickly found its way through every social media channel, fueling a rush among iPad owners, especially those eager to trade-in their first iPad for the latest iPad Air.

When I got to the store on the last day of the promotion, there was a line of like-minded owners eager to cash in.
Target looked like they were truly about to capitalize on a gold rush. The process was slow, but everyone looked forward
 to their gift card.

Target looked like a champion, they were the first to offer a significant promotion around the release of the iPad Air.
They clearly did their homework on the Apple user, eager to reach out to early adopters interested for an upgrade.

The story should have ended there. Target is focused on their customer experience with their in-store offering,
App and overall positioning against Amazon, Walmart and eBay to name a few.
But when it came time to go and get the new iPad Air,
some of the stores were completely out, and those that had inventory, only offered a 16GB or 32 GB version. I was keen to get the 64GB version as we are continuously hungry for more data consumption and media storing. To my surprise, Target would not offer any opportunity for ordering them online, only in-stores at the time.

Not a problem I thought, I should be able to find which store has it for sale. As you can see on the picture below,
I had more than a few choices.

But I quickly found out that Target does not have their website linked to inventory on hand

How could Target not have anticipated this issue happening, especially after restricting the availability to in-store
purchase only?

I proceeded to engage their customer service, in order to see if they had any recommendations. The official response
was, “have you called all other stores beyond the first three stores to try and see if they have
what you are looking for.”

I could not believe it. Here is a major brand whose customer service answer was to simply “call around” and offered
no alternatives. At one store they asked me to check several days later since they receive daily deliveries,
but could not assure me if and when a 64GB iPad Air would be delivered.

Now I was stuck, I had this trade-in gift card for $200 which prevented me from going straight
to Apple or other retailers to get my desired iPad.

All of a sudden, on November 15th started offering a 64GB iPad Air online
instead of in-stores only. Clearly they must have received other complaints, or learned from
their in-store frustrated customers. I immediately proceeded to place the order expecting a fast and smooth process.

Boy was I wrong! When it came time to use my trade-in card during the online ordering process,
it was not recognized as a gift card. Upon reading the fine print, (and yes, calling Target customer service once more)
they informed me that this trade-in offer was administered by a third party, and it required an extra registration process
 beyond the paperwork filed at the store during the initial trade-in.

I was still driven to get this transaction done. As a result I asked the customer service representative
to remain on the phone to make sure I would not lose my online order, while registering
this infamous gift card. I entered the last details and the site confirmed I had $200 to spend.
Upon asking the customer service agent which numbers on the trade-in card I should use
under the gift card section of my online order, (get ready for this one) the customer agent
told me that the trade-in card actually becomes a credit card. The problem here is that
only allows for one credit card per order. As a result, I was left with this $200 gift card
which turns out to be a credit card, and no way for me to pay the balance of my order
unless I had Target gift cards!!!

The customer service agent informs me that I can purchase Target gift cards online, but to receive
them via e-mail they can’t be larger than $200 each. By the way, if you are a RED card holder
(Target credit card holder which I am), no automatic discounts would apply in purchasing
gift cards. For all other purchases you get an automatic 5% discount.

So what were my choices: give up on the order or continue battling through the “red” tape.
I proceeded to order several gift cards in order to finalize my order. I was then reminded
that it will take up to 4 hours for me to receive the actual gift cards via e-mail.
She kindly said: “You can call customer service back once I have the remaining information
to finalize your order.”

Imagine what went through my head during these next few hours as I have an order pending,
for an item in high demand, and whether I’ll ever be able to get this transaction finalized.

I will spare you the dropped calls saga with customer service, or the personal 4 digit pin code
on the credit card not matching the 3 digit authorization code required on
By the end of the day, we finally had the order processed.

Clearly, Target only looked at the front-end promotion opportunities, and capitalize on getting customers tied to Target
for their next purchase. They failed on understanding the full customer journey and the variety
of touch points that would impact their overall customer experience.

Please share your comments if you too traded-in your old iPad for this promotion. Have you experienced similar issues with other orders, whether with Target or other major retailers?

I will certainly think twice from now on before I trade-in anything for a gift card instead
of immediate gratification.

Target, How will you regain my loyalty?

Written by Eric Silverstein

A customer experience executive always ready to navigate the next business and social trends. Implements solutions that deliver and improve company bottom-line.

Twitter @Eric_Determined:

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