Will Target become the newest tech giant in retail?

Target continues to make strides in technological innovation as it looks to keep pace with Amazon and Walmart.

Amazon, and more recently Walmart, have more or less taken positions as ‘tech giants’. In addition to selling products to consumers, they develop proprietary technology that enhances the shopping experience, improves business operations, and in some cases is even offered to other retailers on a third-party vendor basis.

Target is increasingly positioning itself as another member of the retail tech giant club. Here are a few examples of movements it makes:

Paid membership

One way the discounter is following Amazon and Walmart is by getting into the store paid subscription membership game. Target plans to launch a paid membership program called Target Circle 360 ​​in April 2024.

The program includes unlimited free same-day delivery on Target’s orders Sent online delivery service over $35 in just one hour, free two-day shipping and access to Shipt Marketplace, which offers same-day delivery from more than 100 retailers nationwide.

For starters, the program offers a promotional price of $49 per year. The price will increase to $99 per year after the promotional period ends on May 18. Customers who have a Target Circle credit card can pay the lower price of $49 per year after that date.

The new program is part of an overall upgrade to the retailer’s free loyalty program, Target Circle, which debuted in 2019 and has more than 100 million members.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Like Amazon and Walmart, Target is also developing its own in-house artificial intelligence (AI) technology. These include AI-driven solutions That helped it predict demand for holiday products and prevent out-of-stock items, as well as AI technology designed to help customers find the most personally relevant products and deals in the Target Circle loyalty program and on the e -commercesite.

Target also continues to explore use cases for employees and customers generative AIand its subsidiary Shipt delivery recently introduced an AI-powered search function

Supply chain and delivery innovation

Target has long offered delivery services to other retailers through its subsidiary Shipt, and Amazon and Walmart both offer hosted delivery options as well. But the discounter goes beyond just supporting same-day and next-day delivery of purchases with a variety of solutions and strategies.

In January, Shipt opened one innovation laboratory focused on advancing the future of shopping and delivery for all stakeholders. Technologies and areas where Shipt will conduct experimentation and research include drone delivery and fulfillment, personalization, and immersive shopping experiences in virtual environments such as metaverse and gaming platforms.

A real-life example where Shipt has a immersive shopping experience is a summer 2023 collaboration with online gaming developer Voldex that offered a back-to-school shopping immersion within Driving Empire, a racing experience available on the Roblox gaming platform.

On the supply chain side, Target follows Walmart and Amazon in using both strategy and technology to help maximize supply chain efficiency.

Target use sorting centerswhich streamline the process of fulfilling and delivering online orders by removing the sorting process from the backroom of stores, to aggregate order volume in a given market by acting as cross-dock facilities for items from 30 to 50 local stores.

Amazon and Walmart are both consolidating their inventory for regional orders. Additionally, like Walmart, Target is taking advantage of its widespread store footprint by using stores as mini fulfillment hubs, reducing the effort and cost of last-mile delivery.

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