The discount retailer recently remodeled the departments in a handful of stores across the country with waist-height, bright white tables and displays. The move fits a design trend seen in recent years at stores run by
"It's more a minimalist approach with space for consumers to touch and test the merchandise," said
And it comes at a time when electronics sellers are seeing a major shift in product mix as the space that used to be devoted to cameras, which are declining rapidly, is giving way to square footage for cellphones.
Target is testing the new format to give customers a more convenient way to interact with products and services, according to spokeswoman
The concept is being tested in five stores nationwide, including in
"I wish they would compare the plans better," he said. "But I did like the way I could feel and play with the phones."
Putting phones directly in the hands of customers is a reaction to showrooming and competition from online retailers like
The hope is that the test departments will create "reverse showrooming." That occurs when customers do preliminary research online at
The challenge for Target and other electronics retailers is to give customers a better experience in the store than they have online. One way to accomplish that is to emphasize service, said
Lowering sightlines and getting customers to play with the phones isn't enough, Koo said. "They need to make it more experiential and transformative by adding something that a consumer can't accomplish online. Like a headphones station," she said.
Electronics is the latest department to be given a makeover at Target. Cosmetics recently added concierges in cosmetics to pump up the service factor at 200 locations. In the
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