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November 09, 2012

Target Enlists CNET Reviews to Make Gadget Shopping Easier


Gadget shopping is one of the last things a lot of people want to do, especially with the upcoming Christmas shopping season afoot. While it's easier if potential gift receivers name a gadget, its worse if they only name it by class; "I want an iPad" is a lot easier to deal with than "I want a new television". But for those gadget shoppers who find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices, Target (News - Alert) has plans to make things a little easier this week, thanks to a partnership with CNET.


Target will not only start bringing CNET reviews to their website, offering up reviews on fully 300 different products currently on Target's website, but Target will even go so far as to bring those reviews to the stores themselves, offering up reviews on 28 different products near those products' physical locations in the stores. Moreover, Target stores will run CNET video, like CNET Editors' Picks, on televisions in Target stores, giving potential customers a look at just what CNET's calling worthwhile.

While CNET hasn't been averse to syndication before--CNET reviews have appeared on retailers' websites in the past--this is the first time that they've actually been found at store shelves.

The editor-in-chief of CNET Reviews, Lindsey Turrentine, said of the new partnership: "The goal of this is to really make purchase decisions easier during the holidays because this is the time when a lot of people may not be purchasing for themselves."

Indeed, a recent survey from BDO USA said that 62 percent of respondents found consumer electronics to be the strongest selling category of the entire holiday season, with a likewise number--62 percent--saying that the strongest seller would also see the biggest discounts and promotions. With plenty of new electronics coming out, and the always-present threat of online shopping in play, it's going to make big discounts and promotions downright necessary for stores to get a slice of that particular pie.

The practice of putting up third-party reviews--a practice that got big approval from Target shoppers according to Target's own recent survey--may seem a bit off-putting, but with the growing prevalence of mobile devices, customers likely could have had access to those reviews all the same, if they could get a signal in the store itself. Target wants to drive sales in-store, so in order to keep from getting "showroomed"--a practice described as when people get hands-on with the product in the store then buy it online--they need not only good prices, but they also need to provide the kind of information shoppers would get online.

The Target / CNET coalition's effect on sales won't be known until after all the gifts land under the tree this year, but it's still an idea that should make all parties very happy in the end.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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