Last Wednesday, while rolling out Target's holiday plans at a media event in Manhattan, the company's CEO Brian Cornell announced that the retailer is planning to spend an additional $50 million on staffing for the busiest shopping season of the year. "It'll be our biggest single investment in holiday payroll that we've ever made," Cornell said. 

Certainly, Target has a lot at stake, and it's betting it all on creating the best experience for the customers who shop its stores, and those who order online and pick up at one of the company's 1,800 retail locations. In order to ensure it provides that high-touch customer experience, Target is investing in the people who make that possible--its front-line team who interact with guests every day.

"It'll be invested in our team in hours, and they'll be invested in those windows of time when we know guests are shopping our store," Cornell said when asked about what that $50 million represents. Specifically, that means making sure that its staff is on the floor at the times that are busiest with shoppers. It also means allowing team members to pick up extra shifts, and earn overtime at a time of year when every little bit extra helps.

Target also unveiled its commitment to be what it calls "America's favorite place to shop." That commitment includes its new Circle membership program, which gives members a 1 percent reward on everything they buy to be used on a future purchase, as well as Target's trio of fulfillment options.

In fact, Cornell said that Target stores will have twice as many fulfillment staffing hours compared to previous years. From one-hour delivery with Shipt, to in-store pickup and drive-up service, Target is already trying to be America's easiest place to shop.

And a large part of that is because of those team members, which explains why Target is all in on adding staffing hours when it counts the most. The same thing is true for your business--your team members can help you create the best experience, but only if you have them in the right roles. 

These are the three roles Target focuses on to create the best experience for its guests:

Experts

These are the specialists who make sure that the right products are available. That means keeping the right things in stock, managing the supply chain, and also making sure that merchandise displays are stocked and inviting. 

Advocates 

Employees who connect with guests in the front of the store in roles like customer service. Don't underestimate how important it is to have high-capacity team members in the roles who often handle customers when they have a problem they need to have solved.

Consultants 

In areas of the store that require expertise, these team members help guests make decisions. For example, in the beauty section, these consultants help customers decide which products best meet their specific needs. 

Why It Matters

Here's why it matters for your business--your customers are looking for you to make it easy to do business with you. That means making sure you have adequate products available for customers and the right team members to handle their needs.

In fact, it's time now to start thinking about how you'll manage a shopping season that experts are already predicting will see an increase in online and retail spending. That's despite the shortened window, which includes one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you haven't already, review your staffing plans, and work with your team to identify the areas you will need the most help. Consider offering additional hours, or performance incentives for team members who help you meet your customers' needs this holiday season. That type of investment looks like it could cost you, but the greater risk is the cost associated with failing to deliver the experience your customers expect. 

Just because the holiday season starts later this year, doesn't mean you can afford to wait.  

Published on: Oct 28, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.