Recently our friends at Target revealed a once secret app (read: secret weapon) they developed in 2016 to help bridge the gap between consumers and product developers, improve product selection and provide the retailer a competitive advantage in the fast-paced retail space.
With a striking resemblance to Instragram, the “Studio Connect” app provides users many familiar features including curated feeds, liking of posts, commenting on photos and responding to threads posted directly by Target’s product development team and other consumers alike.
Target leverages this platform to foster collaboration with their designers, to identify unmet needs in the marketplace, to improve the inclusivity of their offerings and to move to market faster than ever.
One example of the app in action came from a designer who solicited user ideas for mothers-day catchphrases to feature in a seasonal t-shirt design. Within a day they received nearly 50 responses and after a quick analysis of common themes and user reactions, the development team had all the information and inspiration they needed to bring a winning product to life.
Those seasoned innovators reading will recognize Open Innovation Platforms and Voice-of-Consumer services are not new. However, the recent convergence of widespread product digitalization and investment in digital media capabilities along with the pervasiveness of social media and the eagerness of consumers to collaborate has created an opportunity that Target was wise to seize.
Now, before you scramble over to the App Store to see it for yourself, I have to tell you the app is available by invite only and is exclusive to only 600 of Target’s most valued super fans.
So although I share your disappointment, I nevertheless offer this shout out to Target for continuing to push the boundaries of digital innovation and digital product collaboration and look forward to one day making the cut!