Marshall Field

The mass exodus of shoppers from J.C. Penney, prompted by the drastic store changes made by now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson, serves as a cautionary tale of what can happen when retailers don't follow that old saying by fabled retailer Marshall Field, "give the lady what she wants." But that is, of course, easier said than done. What exactly does she want? Retailers are paying closer attention to the tricky art and science of creating a compelling in-store experience that matches shoppers wants and needs.

Type the word “Gift” into any Internet search engine, and you’ll be faced with more sites than you know what to do with. From to, online gift retailing has become a hot-button business. With such a crowded field, why would the executives of retail giant Target Corp. decide that three of its strongest print catalog brands—Wireless, Signals and Seasons—would do better under one URL, The answer lies in the shopping experience. Market researchers told Target’s online division,, that potential for cross-selling among the three catalogs was high, but that navigating three different sites was not as easy it should be.

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