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How Target is leveraging a special connection with its most discriminating customers

Some customers are special. We should all be working to identify, recruit and support the customers that will help us build our business. 

Fast Company: Target has a secret app for superfans, and it looks like Instagram, 2018-Jul-11 by Mark Wilson

[It's] Studio Connect, an app developed inside Target in 2016. It’s used to connect the Target design team to the customer they’re designing for, informing projects like its ambitious new Made by Design line of housewares. 

Not just anyone can join the service. Target keeps the group at roughly 600 members (that’s 0.002% of its 30 million weekly shopper base). Each member is personally invited to take part, and they’re recruited via online research and receipt polls. They are not paid for the service, but can earn points toward discounts and gift cards. The larger incentive is that these fans get to be part of a feedback loop, seeing and sometimes trying products early, while encouraging Target to develop products that they will love to buy. They get to help shape Target into the Target they want.

Target launched Studio Connect for a simple reason: Products are being developed faster than ever, but conventional consumer insight research methods–like running official polls, or coordinating in-person focus groups–takes several weeks at best.... 

[The] feedback loop doesn’t just happen after a product comes out. It happens at any moment during the product development process. And Target’s products should be better the first time around as a result.

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