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Target turns college-bound shoppers’ smartphones into virtual interior designer

Target has launched a new mobile tool that acts as an interior designer for college-bound shoppers, linking with their social media profiles to provide a personalized and interactive selection of merchandise.

The Made For U College Styler takes the form of a well-known social media quiz format, which many young consumers are often seen participating with on various social channels. The digital quiz attracts users through this format, and drives sales by personalizing the shopping experience, curating products specifically for the individual.

“We know that today’s digitally driven college students live online, so Target has tools like the Made For u College Styler to help inspire students and they design and shop for their dorm rooms and apartments,” said Lee Henderson, public relations at Target. “Through a lifestyle questionnaire and analyzing the users’ social channels, the Made For U College Styler will create a personalized dorm room with curated Target products that offers on-trend décor and small-space living solutions.

“Users will have the opportunity to share their results with their future roommate and create a Made For Us experience which will help determine how they can coordinate their styles on a shared list of room must-haves,” he said.

Digital designer
The retail chain is known as a hub for various dorm room goods and needs, and with the mobile dorm room quiz, Target is attempting to appeal to the college demographic to ensure its place as a one-stop shop for going back to school.

Female college students are very interested in tailoring their dorm room to their individual style, and Target offers a wide range of products that attract these consumers. The Made For U College Style entices users to directly interact with the merchandise, making them more likely to purchase.

Followers on Target’s social media accounts can access the quiz through its social channels. The digital experience connects to the users Instagram and Facebook account, and the tool uses these platforms to get a feel for a user’s personal style.

Users then answer a series of questions based on their interests and hobbies, such as “where is your happy place,” and “how do you eat breakfast.” Once the quiz is completed, Target then declares the user a specific style name such as Fabulista or Upstarter, and curates a list of products based on what it feels is her personal style.

Students can seamlessly shop the products that are digitally provided from the quiz. A quick shop window pops up when the user clicks on the shop these products button.

The collection of products follow a complementary color scheme, so customers will have no issues in cohesive decorating. The mobile experience acts as a digital interior designer.

Target is attempting to widen the audience of the College Styler by having users share with their roommates to see if their dorm room styles will match. The platform requests the roommate’s contact and social media information and then determines her personal style, comparing the original user’s style with the roommate’s.

The retailer also suggests the option to virtually dorm with well-known Internet personalities such as blogger Aspyn Ovard and YouTube sensation Madelynn.

The digital experience is further driving sales by pointing out possible future problems that can occur with clashing responses to the quiz. For instance, differing answers regarding music throughout the quiz will elicit a Target suggestion of headphones.

Also, if both roommates entered into the platform are messy, Target will suggest a variety of storage options, as well as various products both users might be interested in.

There is also a digital checklist, in which students can check off necessary dorm room items, while Target offers suggestions for each category.

Targeting consumers
The retailer is consistently introducing engaging and unique mobile experience to entice consumers and drive sales. For instance, Target leaned heavily on mobile to make the most of its buzzed-about tie-in with the Lilly Pulitzer brand, leveraging social media, SMS and email to target style-savvy young consumers (see more).

Also, the discount retailer drove product sales through colorful images on Twitter and Instagram with a high engagement rate (see more).

“The back-to-college season is one of the most important shopping seasons for Target as it allows us to connect with our millennial guest as they begin to independently shop for the next phase in their life and make their own purchasing decisions,” Mr. Henderson said. “Our top back-to college priorities are to provide inspiration and deliver ease and convenience through personalized content, new tools and stylish product, and offer unbeatable value.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistnat at Mobile Commerce Daily