Target Makes Push for More Flexible Fulfillment Options

Source: Justin Bomberowitz, Friday, Sep 6, 2013

As the holiday season approaches, retailers are preparing for an influx of sales both online and in-store. With an increasingly “connected consumer” leveraging all channels for both research and purchase, it’s as important as ever for retailers to both embrace and experiment with flexible fulfillment options that provide convenience for the shopper and accessibility to their inventory.

Target has recently made announcements about new flexible fulfillment options for shoppers including pick-up in store, a convenience that Walmart and Best Buy already offer customers. Target’s aim is to roll the service out to all 1,800 stores by the start of the 2013 holiday season.

Local inventory transparency is a topic on many retailers’ mind as it gives shoppers the ability to virtually browse a store both online or through a mobile application. However, it takes a considerable investment to update inventory management systems to ensure proper flow of product in an individual store based off of online orders.

Mobile app updates

Target has already created one of the more integrated mobile apps amongst general merchandise retailers, offering daily deals, list functionality, birthday gift shopping, prescription management and much more.

The recent app update focuses on localizing the store experience. Target shoppers will now see a corresponding Weekly Ad, dependent on her Target store location. Additionally, Target is promoting its in-store “Target Guest Wi-Fi” in order to give shoppers easy access online.

Target has also built out its shopping list feature where consumers can shop without an internet connection, add items from within the app and offer suggestions of items for purchase.  While it’s only available in certain locations, look for Target to roll out this functionality for use in at least all major metro areas and eventually to all Target stores.

The majority of these updates are geared towards offering an enhanced shopping experience inside Target stores. With localized deals and a more personalized shopping list, Target is connect with its customers from the minute they walk into the store either through traditional merchandising or through the mobile app enhancements.

Holiday season

Last year Target made headlines with announcements for select online price matching guarantees with select online competitors. RNG expects Target to be equally aggressive this holiday season in order to win the sale. Look for them to market similar price match guarantees and employ additional strategies to draw in customers from October to December.