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02 September 2008

What Were They Thinking #2: Target Checkout

First off let me say I have nothing against Target. In fact I love the store and spend more time there than I do in Walmart, Meijer and Kmart combined. They have gone the second mile to create nice shopping environments and offer products that are well made and offer a touch of class to your home.

Service: That said, I run into this problem a lot when I'm there. I couldn't find a picture so I'll have to describe it. Pretend you are standing just inside the big sliding doors where all the carts are kept. You turn to look down the long line of checkouts stretching the width of the store. How many are open? My guess is 4 (unless it's December 20th).

Lack of Excellence: 4 open registers out of 40! Talk about overkill in the construction phase. Think of all the extra floor space they would have if they had have settled on 10 registers instead of the 40! Not to mention the fact that you often wind up in a line behind 6 other people and spend 15 minutes waiting around for your turn.

Website Application: What if we did the same thing when designing our websites? It would be like locking certain important pages down so only a limited number of people could access it at one time. If you went there maybe you'd see the following: "This page is currently being viewed by 100 people so you will have to wait until they are done."

Or better yet - lets talk apples to apples: "You are currently in 8th position in the online checkout process. Please wait your turn and then be prepared to enter your credit card information promptly."

It simply doesn't make sense in the online world. You expect your shopping experience to be between you and the remote secured server. I checkout when I want to and it should only take me as long as it takes to type in my info. Anything longer than that and we start getting antsy.

In Summary: Now I don't want to be too hard on Target when I ask What Were They Thinking. I don't have the responsibility they have in designing store layouts and being prepared for a large influx of customers. Nor do I have to manage the number of employees in the building at any given time and how many of them should be on checkout. But at times it just doesn't seem to make sense.