Target has a secret app called Studio Connect that allows users to connect with Target designers. The app is available by invitation only and is limited to about 600 users. The invitations are chosen from respondents to online research and satisfaction surveys generated at the checkouts.
The app, similar in design to Instagram, is used by Target by their design teams to get feedback from potential users of the merchandise they’re designing. For example, the app has already helped Target design its new private label line of housewares, called Made by Design.
According to Fast Company, Target launched Studio Connect for a simple reason: Products are being developed faster than ever, but conventional consumer insight research methods–like running official polls, or coordinating in-person focus groups–takes several weeks at best.
The participants in the app are incentivized with points that they can eventually use towards discounts or gift cards – but Fast Company reports that the app users are just happy to be part of the design feedback loop.
“Studio Connect enables our designers to interact with guests at any point while developing products, encouraging conversations and adding a level of flexibility to the formal feedback process,” Julie Guggemos, Target’s senior VP, product design, and development, told Fast Company.
Using an app like Studio Connect can help companies design products faster and with greater customer feedback rather than when the product hits the shelf.