Target to showcase CNET reviews as it courts gadget shoppers

Thu Nov 8, 2012 7:03am EST
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By Jessica Wohl

(Reuters) - Target Corp is bringing reviews from tech news website CNET into its aisles in time for the holiday season as it tries to stand out from a crowd of stores and websites selling a mix of new gadgets.

The partnership between the discount chain and CNET, a website popular with gadget enthusiasts and known for its consumer electronics reviews, kicks off this week after a small test this spring showed that Target's shoppers appreciated getting third-party reviews in stores.

Shoppers will see reviews of 28 products in Target stores and reviews of 300 products on Target's website. In stores, televisions on display will also occasionally show videos featuring CNET Editors' Picks for Target and how-to videos.

The partnership marks a bit of a shift for CNET, whose reviews are sometimes syndicated to places such as retailers' websites but until now were not on store shelves.

"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," said Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET Reviews.

A survey released this week by BDO USA found that 62 percent of retail chief marketing officers said consumer electronics would be the strongest selling category this holiday season. The same amount, 62 percent, said that the category would see the most discounts and promotions during the holiday season, BDO, the assurance, tax and financial consulting firm, said.

A wide variety of products are hitting stores in time for the busy holiday season, including updated Apple Inc iPads, iPhone and iPods, the new iPad mini, Nintendo's Wii U, Microsoft Corp's Windows 8 software and Surface tablets, Google Inc's Nexus tablets and new Samsung tablets and phones.

However, the growing practice of using stores to look at items and then buy them at lower prices elsewhere, known as showrooming, has added pressure to stores.   Continued...

A Target employee returns carts to the store in Falls Church, Virginia May 14, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque