Target received a blow to its consumer trust levels after a two-hour systemwide point-of-sale outage on Saturday, June 16, followed by a 90-minute outage at certain stores on June 17. The initial breakdown was due to an internal technology issue, while the second was due to an issue with NCR, the retailer’s payment processor, according to a Target spokesman.
The retailer confirmed that the problem was not caused by a data breach or security-related issues, and that no shopper information was compromised by the event. However, the incident still resulted in a spike in negative sentiment around the brand, according to Zignal Labs. Much of the online conversation was centered on data security issues, which remained a major topic even after news media reported that the issue had been fixed.
“Real-time monitoring of sentiment on social and understanding that it can bleed into mainstream can help brands, like Target and others, mitigate crises and help them to home in on specific influencers who are most impactful to the conversation,” said Josh Ginsberg, CEO of Zignal Labs in commentary sent to Retail TouchPoints. “Engaging with these individuals through social media in a manner that takes responsibility and is totally transparent in communication is the best way to go.”
Compensating affected customers with gifts such as rewards points and free items also can help reduce tension and show that Target takes loyalty seriously, according to Ginsberg. Setting things right is going to be particularly important for Target as it ramps up competition with Amazon through offerings like same-day delivery, since competing against the e-Commerce giant requires both trust and reliability.
“Target has two major hills to climb in their response strategy in order to achieve their desired business outcome,” said Matt Rizzetta, CEO and Founder of North 6th Agency in commentary supplied to Retail TouchPoints. “The first is regaining trust and confidence from their consumers, and the second is staving off Amazon who is surely pouncing on every opportunity they have to reinforce their superiority in the retail category when it comes to system security, customer service experience and innovation.”