SEBA Undergraduate Students Present Real-World Case Studies to a Panel of Target Judges

The students in Professor Kelly Weidner’s marketing class, BUSAD124, participated in a unique business case study competition on October 27.

BUS124The study was designed to bring new perspective to Target’s retail landscape, by challenging students to target modern, largely millennial consumers with real-world case studies of their own design. Students were given an overview of rival stores to take into consideration in today’s competitive consumer retail landscape, including Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot.

The students were split into six teams of three to five students, randomly selected by Weidner. Target worked closely with the entire class before and after their presentations, sending an HR Person to talk with them, and giving them extensive tours of their Walnut Creek storefront facility, where they were able to take a peek at the backrooms. The question posed was: “As a senior buyer or senior manager FP & A within the Target division, how would you develop a strategy for a consistent cross-channel experience that stands for style in the context of the modern consumer?”

“Students worked on presentations that demonstrated their case studies for better engaging consumers across channels, particularly the home goods section of the store,” said Weidner. “It was fun to offer students a chance to work with an engaged corporate partner where they could apply their classroom learning to a live case study, giving them the unique opportunity to work with a marketing challenge in the corporate setting,” said Weidner. Each student team presented their case study to a panel of Target judges, who visited them in their regular classroom dressed in the Target store uniform of red and khaki.

The winning team, Team Operation Bullseye, was composed of undergraduates Kylie Vandenson, '18, Tyler O'Campo, '19, Alexandra Palmer, '19, and Joshua Warren, '19, who will split a $2500 scholarship from Target between them. The group presented the idea of new tablet solutions for the home department. They found in their research that Target had a large presentation of inventory online, but a limited in-store presentation of this inventory.

“We found we needed to connect these two inventories. Bringing the online inventory in store through tablet stations that replace the older price scanners creates a cheap, quick, and simple solution to a huge problem Target has in the home department,” said Palmer, who thinks the case study was an intriguing experience because it allowed her to apply what she is learning in her classes in the real world to a brand she herself uses.

“We came up with the idea to implement a tablet station kiosk to replace the traditional price scanners you see in the store today,” said Vandenson. “Customers would be able to view the extensive online inventory and make purchases in the store with assistance from subject matter experts at Target. Our idea is an inexpensive solution, focused on a solution that integrated technology and resources that Target is already utilizing. It has the potential to expand to other departments and roll out to stores nationwide."

"We made a simple modification to the already implemented aisle caps where price scanners are located. Customers could walk up and if they don't see what they like in-store, they could browse the millions of other products online and potentially make the purchase at that moment and schedule a store pick-up, or even have it shipped to their address. I used Illustrator to design the attached image of our Tablet Station. What Target loved most about our idea was the fact that it was feasible and attempts to solve the idea of customers leaving empty-handed and unsatisfied with the store inventory," said Tyler O'Campo.

"Our undergraduate students were able to apply what they learned in the classroom through a case study for a real project with a leading retailer. These experiential activities helped the students to be innovative, creative, and come up with feasible recommendations for Target.  I am proud of their efforts and look forward to seeing our students continue to make an impact on companies like this in the future with their classroom projects,” said Professor Larisa Genin, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Faculty.

“I am so proud of my team and my classmates for their dedication to this Case Study and would love to see more classes partake in this type of research. Receiving a scholarship was just a bonus,” said Vandenson.