In an effort to improve shopper experience, Target has made what it calls a host of technology enhancements to its stores nationwide.
“We’re using cutting-edge technology to make it easier, faster and more convenient for guests to shop Target stores,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer. “Technology is increasingly vital to make sure Target can deliver like nobody else—both in our stores and online. We’re excited to have these store upgrades ready for guests as we head into the busy holiday season.”
Among the changes shoppers may notice during their trips to Target are:
Store team members can help guests buy online
If shoppers are unable to find the item they want in their size or a specific color, for example, they now can have a team member place an online order from the sales floor and have the purchase shipped to their homes using a new app called “myCheckout” that Target’s tech team built for team members’ handheld devices. Team members can use myCheckout to search Target.com for desired products, then take guests’ payment on the spot with a credit card reader that’s attached to the handheld device. Guests walk away knowing their items are en-route to their doorstep—with free shipping.
“MyCheckout combines the best of Target technology, supply chain and our expanded online assortment to help guests find what they’re looking for without missing a beat,” says the company. “And it’s working. We’ve already done more than 10,000 transactions since we began testing the service in select stores this spring.”
New software at self-checkout
To improve self-checkout, Target’s tech team developed new, back-end software for the system and a new look for the front end that the retailer says is simpler and more intuitive for guests. Since the new system went live in August, the company says its self-checkout lanes are running smoother and faster, improving guest satisfaction scores.
Target has more than doubled wi-fi bandwidth to its stores due to upgrades recently completed on its network infrastructure, including the installation of more than 300 miles of fiber-optic cables to its stores and distribution centers.
The more robust network makes everything from wi-fi to checkout registers to team member handheld devices work better, the company says. The overhaul also included a new backup system that’s already withstood its first big test; when Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma hit Texas, Louisiana and Florida this fall, more than 120 impacted Target locations went onto the backup network, and all but two maintained connectivity throughout the storms.
Bots to correct IT problems quickly
Target’s tech team has created custom bots—software that runs automatically—to help tackle store IT issues. As soon as the bots detect a glitch, they begin troubleshooting and putting fixes in place, often before anyone at the store, including team members and guests, even realizes there’s an issue, says Target.
So far, the tech team estimates this automation has saved 1,000 store team member hours since it rolled out over September and October.
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