The Target Corporation is a US-based retail company with a long history. The organization is a large network of stores that operate under the Target brand. Its headquarters are in Minneapolis, where the company was founded over a century ago, in 1902, but today, the network has stores in all 50 states (“All about Target,” 2020). During the market presence, the name of the corporation changed several times, and the final name was adopted in 1962 (“All about Target,” 2020).
The market share is large and is mainly achieved due to wide coverage: in the country, there are 1,915 stores of this brand, and “75% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Target store” (“All about Target,” 2020, para. 1). The product line includes both well-known brands that cooperate with Target and local brands that manufacture products exclusively for this retail network. The feature of this company is that it constantly provides discounts and makes regular sales, thereby attracting a wide range of buyers.
This report is aimed at analyzing Target’s business from external and internal perspectives, including the factors affecting the operation of the retail network and the individual characteristics of the company. In order to obtain a complete understanding of the specifics of the organization, its vision, mission, and objectives will be considered. The strengths and weaknesses of the business will be assessed, and growth opportunities will be evaluated along with potential threats. Recommendations for the future development of the Target Corporation will help address the identified failures and increase the successes achieved.
Vision, Mission, Objectives
Like any large company, the Target Corporation has its individual mission, vision, and business objectives. The organization’s vision statement is as follows: “Guided commitments to great value, the community, diversity and the environment” (“Target mission, vision & values,” 2021, para. 2). In terms of its mission, Target aims to address the needs of a wide range of buyers and make the network a place to shop for broad-spectrum goods (“Target mission, vision & values,” 2021). Experience, complemented by constant innovation and affordable prices, is the component of the workflow. Among the objectives the corporation sets for itself, one should highlight close interaction with the public and communities to improve the quality of service and create an environment for brand promotion. Strengthening the team spirit of employees to achieve cohesion is another Target’s objective.
Analysis of Vision, Mission, Objectives
The presented mission, vision, and objectives are consistent with Target’s business strategy and address its key entrepreneurial features. Since the corporation is a retail network, mentioning discounts and affordable prices is an important aspect of these statements. Diversity and commitment, being part of the organization’s vision, reflect the corporation’s multi-vector activities and wide regional coverage. In addition, the organization focuses on innovation, which allows it to remain competitive and target a wide range of consumers by following a strategy of increasing brand value and customer loyalty. The breadth of the assortment, reflected in Target’s mission, helps it attract more new clients and provide shopping opportunities within one location, which increases retaining possibilities and expands the audience.
Through its objectives, the corporation focuses on interacting not only with individual customers but also with communities, which enhances the brand’s reputation. Strengthening teamwork is a valuable task to foster professionalism and team cohesion, which play a significant role in the execution of routine operations.
General Economic Conditions
To assess the factors affecting the economic performance of the Target Corporation, one should take into account the variables that reflect the resilience of the national economy. Such parameters are commonly referred to as inflation, growth rate, and GDP (Egbunike & Okerekeoti, 2018).
These criteria affect the company’s business and determine the appropriate financial operating environment, including reporting and pricing. In addition to these parameters, Target’s economic operations depend on a number of other factors. They are the degree of government intervention, the resilience of financial markets, staff skill levels, unemployment rate, interest rates, and some other criteria that determine the corporation’s business. Target’s economic performance over the past six years is shown in Figure 1 (“2020 annual report,” 2021).
Global forces are the incentives for Target to address the issues that are not directly related to the corporation’s business. When analyzing such forces, Aziz (2021) mentions political and environmental aspects. With regard to Target, global forces can be associated with the state structure and the level of control over the retail sector, political stability, as well as existing legislative regulations. Although the corporation operates exclusively within the country, some foreign policy factors, for instance, the US trade agreements with other states, are essential to take into account to control supply and demand for specific goods.
In recent years, the tech industry has taken a big step forward, which has been reflected in the work of Target. The corporation requires constant monitoring of innovations introduced by competitors to prevent the leakage of regular customers. In addition, this is important for the company to assess how technological developments are driving customer demand metrics. For instance, the launch of online sales by Target was prompted by the need to address a high consumer interest in virtual shopping. The speed of technological disruption is also a critical criterion to consider to maintain a strong market position and match the status of a modern and progressive company.
Societal Values and Lifestyles
Societal values to take into account largely include not only the demographic characteristics of the target population but also deeper factors. The corporation provides services to a wide range of consumers, and along with household needs, for instance, the offers of everyday goods, the organization is involved in relevant social programs. In Figure 2, Target’s ambitions are presented to operate outside the direct business of the network (“Target Forward,” 2020). The public’s interest in sports, digital, and other goods determines the breadth of the assortment, and the corporation has to take these trends into account to maintain its competitive position.
Legislation and Regulation
The legal framework of national law is an essential factor governing Target’s operations. For instance, according to Xia and Sancewich (2018), anti-trust efforts hold back the retailer’s activities but, at the same time, build conditions for the well-being of companies and consumers. The corporations should also comply with copyright and patent laws to prevent intellectual property infringement. Labor legislation defines the recruitment of personnel and is in line with the human resource management initiatives promoted by the company. Consumer protection regulations are significant rules that create special conditions for doing business and coordinate the rules for the sale of food and other goods.
Analysis of Macro Environment
A detailed assessment of external factors affecting Target’s business shows that, despite its large market presence and long-term work in its segment, the retailer is forced to adapt to existing regulations and constraints. Legislative, economic, and technological criteria are the most powerful drivers affecting the corporation, while global forces are the least influencing Target’s operating regime. The interests of the population and existing consumer trends largely determine the specifics of sales and are critical indicators reflecting the work to maintain a balance between supply and demand.
Immediate Industry and Competitive Environment
To determine how well Target and its retail industry can compete, an appropriate assessment framework can be applied. The Five Forces analysis is a convenient algorithm to identify the criteria that determine the characteristics of market activities and their impact. In Figure 3, the main results of this analysis are presented in the context of the Target Corporation, and the outcomes are listed in more detail below (Pratap, 2021).
Target, being represented by a wide network of stores with a colossal assortment, interacts with a large number of suppliers. During its long period of work in the market, the corporation has established sustainable supply chains and established partnerships with numerous companies. Moreover, direct cooperation implies mutual assistance, and Target is ready to provide support to those suppliers who need promotion. In case that any of the partners express a desire to interrupt cooperation, this place will be taken by another one as soon as possible because the company is a reliable participant in the market. Therefore, the bargaining power of suppliers may be described as low.
The threat of substitutes, which is another force to take into account, can be characterized in terms of its moderate impact on Target’s activities. The company covers all 50 states of the country, but the United States has many other retailers willing and able to offer similar services. If Target did not have a long history and a stable customer base, this criterion would be rated as high. However, one of the strengths of the company is its policy of selling at low prices. Not all substitutes are ready to do business under the same conditions because it can be fraught with losses for them. Therefore, despite the market presence of other participants, the specificity of Target’s business allows considering substitute products as a moderate force.
Competitive rivalry is the strongest force that can potentially impact Target’s market position and cause significant business disruption. In Figure 4, the ranking of the largest US retailers is presented, which the National Retail Federation (2021) groups by share of sales in 2020. Based on this list, Target is ranked seventh, which is a high indicator for the competitive US market (National Retail Federation, 2021). Nevertheless, while taking into account the gap between the corporation in question and the companies located higher in this list, the retailer should actively work to accumulate assets and attract new customers. Otherwise, Target may move lower due to tight rivalry in this market segment.
In order for Target to successfully counter market rivalry, the company should view the bargaining power of buyers as a source of enhancing its position. However, given a large number of consumers purchasing a wide range of goods from Target, this force may be characterized with low influence capacity. The emphasis on sales and promotional programs does not expand help expand the share of profits sufficiently to move up the aforementioned ranking list significantly. Moreover, other retailers also have a stable customer base, and in addition to affordable prices, Target should offer consumers new purchasing opportunities, for instance, through continuous innovative development. Therefore, despite the steady influx of buyers, their strength is not the defining criterion in Target’s business.
Recently, due to the trend towards digitalization and remote interaction with customers under the influence of the current COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies are starting to work in the internet environment. For Target that also has a customized online store, this threat can be described as moderate. Despite the fact that the corporation has won the trust of a wide range of consumers and is included in the list of the largest American retailers, the market situation is unstable. In case other firms demonstrate progressive growth and successful implementation of innovations, the company can lose its position, yielding to more active organizations with fewer assets and, accordingly, lower risks. In addition, foreign brands can enter the local market, which may also negatively affect Target’s business. As a result, due to its good reputation, the company in question is unlikely to face severe problems, but the threat of displacement from the leading positions remains.
Analysis of the Industry and Competitive Environment
The retail industry Target operates in is competitive, and new entrants appear regularly, even though the leaderboard remains relatively unchanged. The greatest risks for the company under consideration are associated with competitive rivalry, which is evident from the indicators of the share of sales over the past year and the seventh place in the list. The power of suppliers can be considered the least significant because, although Target has many partnerships, s number of suppliers are ready to interact with the organization. As Pratap (2021) states, innovation focus may be a factor that can help Target strengthen its position in the face of new entrants.
The expansion of online commerce and critical restrictions on social activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are compelling reasons for this argument. Thus, Target should strengthen its efforts to maintain a competitive advantage and establish more effective interaction with customers through modern remote communication tools.
Target has earned widespread recognition in the United States due to its many years of market activity. Brand recognition is the strength of the business, and promoting branded products along with other popular goods generates large profits. Target constantly interacts with various companies and large advertising agencies, which helps the corporation strengthen its market position and obtain additional resources for promotion. In the social media space, the corporation has accounts on all popular platforms. This is a valuable factor in its presence in the online market and allows it to receive timely feedback from customers while offering products to a wide range of citizens. The retailing environment maintains a dynamic sales mode and provides consumers with an enjoyable shopping experience.
While Target is not a high-tech enterprise, the company has already taken several innovative steps to increase brand recognition. Along with social media activity, the company has forged a partnership with Apple, one of the largest IT giants (“Target debuts Apple shopping destination,” 2021). This decision has made it possible to benefit from the collaboration and attract part of the consumers by confirming the corporation’s high market status. The development of online retail opportunities can be described as another valuable step associated with innovation. Working in the online space and constantly expanding the assortment of the online store allows Target to maintain sales even during the difficult conditions of the pandemic.
In a public setting, Target promotes a corporate image with a strong corporate culture in which every employee involved plays an important role. The company’s corporate slogan, shown in Figure 5, underlines the organization’s commitment to the well-being of both customers and employees (“Culture,” 2020). Target’s staff can look forward to career advancement, and realizing leadership ambitions is a reality in such a large and dynamic trading environment. The management of the company always mentions the importance of creating a favorable microclimate for subordinates and encouraging productive teamwork. Sustainable performance at every stage is the key to stable sales, and the performance of employees in each Target department is always controlled due to high responsibility.
Corporate Governance/Organizational Structure
The organizational structure of Target is sufficiently flexible to make the necessary changes in the company’s operating regime and control the implementation of short-term and long-term tasks at different levels. With the constant increase in the number of the network’s stores, the management promotes the culture of change and encourages high accountability. In terms of governance, Target has a clear structure with several departments that report to the Board of Directors. In Figure 6, the entire structure is presented, which includes finance, HR, infrastructure, and other departments (United States Securities and Exchange Commission, 2019).
The business strategy of continuous growth and expansion of the spectrum of influence determines the nature of each department’s work. Due to the linear structure of work, decisions are made jointly rather than through vertical orders. This helps build a cohesive team and minimizes management mistakes.
Target, as one of the largest American companies, promotes active corporate social responsibility (CSR) work. One of the directions is to address the problem of harmful emissions and climate change caused by it. The organization has several projects and partnerships with other companies interested in this environmental issue. As the objectives, Target sets the tasks of “purchasing nearly 50% of our electricity from renewable sources, well on our way to 100% by 2030” (“Target Forward,” 2020, para. 4). The program to protect the planet from excess plastic is also one of the CSR activities. In addition, with regard to social work, Target is interested in addressing issues related to equality and promotes the idea of organizing a diverse team with inclusion goals (“Target Forward,” 2020). These objectives underscore the corporation’s commitment to crucial environmental and social issues.
Analysis of the Internal Standing
Due to successful market operations and active partnerships with other organizations, Target continually increases its capital and leverages its assets. The decision on innovative development is a significant step towards optimizing the business and transforming outdated principles of interaction with consumers. Collaborating with Apple and other well-known brands increases the chances of attracting and retaining new customers, which is essential in a competitive environment among large retailers. Regarding the organizational structure and management, Target has a flexible system, which is reflected in the control of various operational aspects positively. Significant CSR projects, in turn, enhance the reputation of the corporation and contribute to strengthening its authority in the market. All these factors prove that, although the company does not occupy the top lines in the rating of retailers, Target has sufficient internal resources to conduct a successful business and develop further.
Target’s corporate strategy complies with the objective of growth, which the company promotes as its development task. Despite the fact that the company is successful in the domestic market, it strives to enter the international level. This is due to the high reputation of the brand and recognition abroad. In addition, as Mourdoukoutas (2019) argues, in recent years, Target has narrowed its impacts and focused on a younger audience to gain the trust of new customers, which is critical in conditions of the advanced algorithms of customer feedback and consumer rating systems. The corporation sets ambitious goals to expand the area of its presence, and the positioning strategy is one of the proofs of this (Mourdoukoutas, 2019). Since Target has sufficient resources to adapt its business, the aforementioned objectives are relevant in the context of high market competition and other retailers’ successes.
The corporation in question promotes several operational approaches that shape the basis of its business strategy. One of them is product differentiation as a practice that is aimed at strengthening brand reputation, improving product quality, and creating a rich service environment (“Target Corporation and the new rules of business strategy,” 2020). Since Target operates in the retail field, this principle of activity is adequate due to consumers’ broad needs and the goals of attracting new customers. Another approach of the company’s business strategy is cost leadership, which allows for a competitive advantage along with low costs (“Target Corporation and the new rules of business strategy,” 2020).
In the face of intense competition and rivalry with other retailers, Target needs to look for the ways of minimizing costs. Thus, this practice is a powerful approach to focus on achieving long-term corporate goals.
Target’s functional strategy is to create conditions for stable and successful growth in different directions. One of the initiatives promoted by the company’s management is to improve the buying experience offered to customers as a practice designed to facilitate shopping (“Target outlines 2020 strategic initiatives,” 2020). Expanding the chain of stores through the construction of not only large retail facilities but also small outlets is also part of the functional development strategy. According to the available data, in 2019, such an initiative generated more than $1 billion (“Target outlines 2020 strategic initiatives,” 2020, para. 4).
Finally, introducing innovation in supply chains is another step that enables a corporation to functionally strengthen its operations. The use of robotic mechanisms to control goods volumes in warehouses helps avoid spoilage of goods and gives a clear vision of the available assortment (“Target outlines 2020 strategic initiatives,” 2020). All of these solutions are valuable in the context of strengthening Target’s functional development strategy.
Analysis of Strategy
Based on the reviewed information about the solutions by Target to strengthen its business, corporate, and functional strategies, one can note the dynamics in the company. While the corporation is inferior to some of its competitors in market coverage, its efforts can pay off in the future and open up opportunities for Target to expand internationally. The focus on both external and internal development indicates that the organization does not lose market concentration and capitalizes profits on a regular basis. The movement towards innovation is in line with modern optimization approaches. In the case of Target, the robotization of control mechanisms and simplification of shopping modes for buyers correspond to the contemporary trend of transition to advanced forms of internal resource management.
Evaluation and Control
To improve the quality of services and eliminate errors in customer service, Target uses special processes and audit practices designed to secure all operations and create a favorable environment for customers. The company mentions “Vendor Qualification Assessment” and “Factory Assessment Processes” as the strategies that allow evaluating individual departments’ activities comprehensively (“Product Safety,” 2021, para. 3). Audit programs are based on “a Production Readiness Meeting” and involve visits to the organization’s facilities by third parties for an objective external assessment of development plans (“Product safety,” 2021, para. 4). To avoid production risks, a “Product Testing Program” is applied to ensure the reliability of manufacturing at all cycles (“Product safety,” 2021, para. 5). These procedures allow Target’s management to monitor the safety of the corporation’s activities and help address retail trade regulations.
In terms of evaluating operational and other nuances, Target has been able to address important challenges. According to Asperti et al. (2020), the corporation has established a sustainable revision process by interacting with consultants and transforming weak aspects of the business. The authors also note the company’s performance in relation to risk awareness, which has helped reduce losses and build a more effective planning framework (Asperti et al., 2020). These achievements testify to the targeted optimization work and the desire to improve the quality of service to the population.
One of the gaps in the assessment of Target’s performance is the underdeveloped digital base for interacting with customers due to an imperfect online communication system. This reduces the credibility of evaluation procedures and does not provide an objective picture of brand perception. Another company’s oversight is the focus on individual optimization solutions. To increase the competitive position, in addition to narrow interventions, general promotion actions, for instance, restructuring management apparatus, may be essential.
Analysis of Evaluation and Control
The analysis of Target’s evaluation and control measures proves that the company has succeeded in introducing risk prevention factors, although some gaps remain. Appropriate processes and tools allow the corporation to gain valuable insight into existing gaps in individual operational aspects, although some fields, such as public engagement, leave much to be desired. To address long-term goals, large-scale solutions may be required to ensure the sustainability of all evaluation procedures.
Recommendations for the Future
In order for Target to achieve its long-term goals and expand the sphere of influence, some recommendations can be made. Considering that the corporation is one of the leading retailers in the country, its business success is significant, but some factors, for instance, operating exclusively in the national market, hold back further growth. The following list of recommendations addresses opportunities to develop Target’s business and optimize specific operational aspects:
- Establishing a productive dialogue with the government for obtaining a work permit abroad. Despite the recognition of the Target Corporation by other countries, the US tax system is strict with regard to international business, and the company’s management should communicate the desire to expand the business to the responsible authorities.
- Investing in the development of the digital environment. This initiative can help improve customer interactions to build full brand trust.
- Restructuring the management apparatus to increase flexibility. Despite the convenience of a linear system, vertical integration may be a more successful control strategy.
- Introducing additional assessment procedures. Target’s current quality assurance principles are successful, but if the corporation includes new audit algorithms, for instance, to assess staff performance, this may increase productivity.
- Strengthening competitive methods through new promotion channels. To get closer to the retailers that are higher in the rating, Target should apply both classical promotion principles and modern ones, for instance, through collaboration programs. Forging partnerships with major brands other than Apple can be a good practice to involve new customers and boost corporate revenues.
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