Target is no stranger to the mobile app space; beyond the main Target app, the retail giant has separate apps for everything from its registry services to the controls for its smart home devices. But it turns out that there’s a secret Target app virtually no one knew about — until now. It’s called Studio Connect, and according to a recent report from Fast Company, only 600 members — a mere 0.002 percent of Target’s regular shopping demographic — are allowed to use it. Cue the frantic scramble for access to this coveted service.
Studio Connect isn’t for shopping, though; first conceived of back in 2016, it’s basically a high-tech way for the company to do market research. Said Target’s senior vice president of product design and development, Julie Guggemos, to FastCo, “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.” All Target designers have an account on the app; through it, they can crowdsource answers to questions like, “Mother’s Day is this weekend — if you could design a shirt with a message that celebrated how awesome moms are, what would it say?” After designers pose their questions, customers who use the app can enter responses, with most questions garnering around 40 to 50 answers in about 24 hours, according to FastCo. Those answers might then be used to develop products for Target. Customers don’t earn money for their feedback, but they can earn points toward discounts or gift cards.
The kind of market research facilitated through Studio Connect isn’t new; companies like Pinecone Research and online resources like Swagbucks have existed for some time, trading money, gift cards, and other perks for people’s opinions about new products or product ideas. In many ways, Target’s Studio Connect is just the latest incarnation of this kind of service. Using an app to facilitate, though, is particularly savvy — as is the fact that it’s focused specifically on Target. People love Target — and, as interest Studio Connect has spiked due to its “secret” nature, the exclusivity also lends a certain cachet to it. So, now that more folks know about it, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many are clamoring for invites. (It also apparently looks kind of like Instagram, which I’m sure helps with the appeal.)
So, how does one score an invite to this secret (or, well, perhaps not-so-secret-anymore) app? There’s no guaranteed way to gain entry, but there is one thing you can do to increase your chances: You know those receipt surveys we’ve been seeing pop up more and more frequently lately? Those things you’re sometimes “selected” for wherein, if you go to a URL printed on your receipt from a retailer, you can provide feedback on your shopping experience and, in exchange for your time, get entered into a drawing for things like gift cards that retailer? Take them.
If you’re anything like me, you pretty much always ignore receipt surveys and polls — but if you want the chance to join Studio Connect, it seems they’re worth checking out. According to FastCo, each member of Studio Connect is “personally invited to take part,” with the recruitment process occurring “via online research and receipt polls.” Again, there’s no guarantee that if you take one of the surveys, you’ll gain admittance to Studio Connect — here’s your reminder that only 0.002 percent of Target’s shopper base has access to it — but it’ll at least put you on the app’s radar for a future invite.
Of course, the app might not be worth it for everyone; to be honest, I probably won’t be seeking out an invitation to it myself, simply because I only tend to give customer feedback when I’ve got something specific to report — that is, when I’ve had either a truly terribly experience or an exceptionally excellent one. I probably couldn’t be bothered to answer random questions on demand about product that may or may not ultimately come to fruition.
That’s just me, though; maybe you’d love the chance to have some input in what Target puts on its shelves next, especially if you can earn discounts or gift cards in exchange for your feedback. So, hey, if you’d like a shot at joining, go ahead and take the next survey you get selected for on your Target receipt. You never know when your lucky day might arrive!