A CX fail: I went to Target for a backpack

Let me start by saying I love Target. I’m proud to live in the land of their headquarters and I make a #targetrun at least twice a week. And I think they do many things very well. But today we had our first fight.

I wanted to get an inexpensive backpack. Nothing fancy, just something I could slip my laptop into on the days I wanted to work from home. As I do for several items I purchase, I checked out Target.com.

Target.com backpack on clearance. Note the “buy in store” option.

I found the backpack that would fit my needs. And it was on clearance! And it was in stock at the Target within walking distance from my office! I decided to take a short break and get it right away. I immediately found the backpack and was surprised to see that it was NOT on clearance and, in fact, was full price.

Target is really good about price matching, so I visited customer service, backpack and website in hands. When I asked if they could adjust the price I was told “We don’t price match on clearance. You’d have to order it online to get that price.”

So I could order the backpack online and have it shipped to THIS STORE. But I couldn’t just buy the backpack from that store at the advertised price.

My concern here is that the website never indicated that the price would or even MIGHT be different in stores. I was given an entire list of local stores and whether or not they had the item in stock. But price discrepancies were not mentioned.

Target.com local store listings. The backpack is in stock at all of these locations.

Free Advice for Target

I would have to guess that this has come up for other Target customers. Lucky for Target, I think it would be pretty easy for them to fix. Data is art and Target is a master painter. And not just with the information they collect from shoppers. Their stores are impressively interconnected. So I’m fairly certain that Target.com should be able to tell me if the price is different at a store.

With that in mind and without changing price matching business practices, I think there are two things Target can add to the product page:

  1. If a price is online only or store specific, call that out. Don’t just assign a blanket price point if it isn’t accurate.
  2. When telling a customer they can buy the item in store, note what the in store price is. Especially if it’s different from advertised price. This saves the customer the trouble/disappointment of finding out after they’ve traveled to the store.
Suggestions for Target.com updates.

I didn’t buy the backpack.