WNA Blog

Tue 30 Jun 2020

Kmart Vs Target

Customer Service & Relations
Kmart V's Target - Sharing the love.


Dinner party discussions have covered the subject and now it has become a topic that has made national news headlines- the empty shelves at Kmart.


If you’ve walked through a Kmart store now that shopping is resuming after the Corona shutdown, the bare shelves (and getting barer) have probably been a big awakening about how much product is manufactured OS and the implications of supply chain disruption. 

However it also makes me think in broader terms about the Wesfarmers group. Kmart is the golden child of their discount stores. Whilst it is also true that Target’s shelves are becoming bare, it makes me wonder will Wesfarmers now start to put some equal love into both their discount babies, especially now that the favourite is down for a while. Will they use this as a chance to reset their strategy into managing all their children fairly? 

Any parent knows that if you pump more love and energy and give more opportunities to one child, that special one will flourish and of course reach their full potential. For the past few years this is exactly what has happened with Kmart. 

For a long time Target was perceived as being just a bit more upmarket than its sibling Kmart. Target offered a variety of brands, the quality was backed up with guarantees, the ranges were exciting and whilst on trend, also chosen with staying power that the items was not out of fashion within 12 months. There were guest designers featured, think of Stella McCarthy’s clothing range. The store fitouts were warm and welcoming with product zones and displays for great story merchandising. Whilst not expensive the items could easily be teamed with higher brand labels and still work well.  

But then the powers to be decided to pump their energy into Kmart. Reasons cited are that the middle market of consumers is drying up and an opportunity was seen to appeal to markets who wanted bang for not a lot of money. Very clever buyers and designers were brought in who identified the up to the minute trends and copied them under Kmart’s own label. The stores were gradually changed to mostly Kmart’s house brand. The fitouts were changed (not all aspects for the best), with central payment areas that if anything made shoplifting a whole lot easier. Product zones were introduced with large signage and structures. 

Purchases from Kmart are made knowing that you’ll probably be replacing or discarding the item in a short time. But hey, it’s so cheap that who cares. This attitude has seen the cash registers ringing but also added to global environmental issues of being a throw away society with waste piles that are unmanageable.  

So what to do? It seems the parents just don’t have enough energy in the tank to be able to spread the same love evenly between their children. Whilst there are similarities in some of the marketing and development ideas used to grow each brand, these strategies haven’t been employed at the same time.

If this same energy and attention were given and each child recognised for who their individual strengths, I think we could see some amazing results. Just as parents sometimes choose to put one child into a smaller school to give the individual attention, perhaps those principals need to be adapted to these shops. It may mean introducing smaller footprints stores for Target down the track. 

I would hate to see the unfavoured child drop out of society. I think that parallel and equal but tailored strategies need to be implemented to achieve the full potential of each store.

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