Quebecers are significantly less familiar with Target than shoppers in the rest of Canada, according to new research by a consulting firm specializing in the Quebec market.
“This might be good news for Target in Quebec as the bar was likely not set as high,” according to Eric Blais, president of Headspace Marketing Inc., a Toronto firm that helps clients build brands in Quebec.
“Instead of a Target Lite, Quebecers may have simply discovered a better Zellers.”
The survey of 1,000 women shoppers living near Target stores in Canada found that less than one-quarter of Quebec respondents (23.7 per cent) had ever shopped at a Target store in the U.S.
Among women shoppers in the rest of Canada, more than half of respondents (54.4 per cent) had shopped at a Target in the U.S. In Manitoba 77 per cent of respondents had shopped at a U.S. Target and in B.C., 62 per cent had shopped at a Target across the border.
While shoppers in the rest of Canada had high expectations when Target began opening stores in 2013, Quebecers did not have the same level of awareness of the brand, according to Blais.
Despite that, they were less likely than shoppers in the rest of Canada to rate their experience at Target as positive. Among shoppers who had visited a Target store in Canada at least once in the past year, only 52 per cent of Quebec respondents rated their Target shopping experience as either good or very good.
Despite all the negative publicity about out-of-stock shelves and perceived high prices, 61.7 per cent of women surveyed in the rest of Canada rated their Target shopping experience as either good or very good.
Nearly 40 per cent of Quebec respondents (38.4 per cent), rated their experience as neither good nor bad, indicating there may be an opportunity for Target to win over more shoppers in Quebec, said Blais.
He pointed out that Target has made efforts to engage with the unique culture of the province, by featuring local artists in its advertising there and forging partnerships with local designers.
“Many Quebecers don’t know what to make of Target at this point. This is both an issue and an opportunity for Target,” according to Blais.
“The data suggest that Quebecers are giving Target the benefit of the doubt despite rating their experience so far not as favourably as Canadians in the rest of Canada,” he concluded.
A Target spokesperson said Target opened its first stores in Quebec almost six months after opening its first stores elsewhere in Canada so it would not be surprising to see some differences in Quebec.
“We have known from the beginning that Quebec is a unique market and we’ve held a number of Quebec-specific events and initiatives, including partnering with local celebrities like Geneviève Borne and Saskia Thuot along with local events like the Montreal Fashion and Design Festival; we continue our efforts to connect with our Quebec guests.”