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Target signals bigger mobile innovation push with Digital Advisory Council

May 30, 2014

Target's mobile app

Target’s mobile app

Target has created a new Digital Advisory Council consisting of executives from leading companies as it ramps up efforts to create disruptive mobile experiences that bring value to customers.

While Target has been active in the mobile space for several years, the council – which includes executives from, Orbitz and Bain Capital – could help insure that top-level executives better grasp the need to invest in mobile and other digital strategies. With such support, Target should be better positioned to more effectively leverage mobile as a differentiator.  

“Target is looking to the new Digital Advisory Council to bring us fresh, disruptive ideas that will push our teams to work creatively and quickly – that’s  true in our stores as well as online and mobile,” said Eddie Baeb, spokesman at Target, Minneapolis, MN.

“Target is pursuing an aggressive omnichannel agenda, and mobile plays a crucial role,” he said. “We view mobile as the bridge between the online and physical worlds, and it brings the entire Target universe – from stores to social media to – into the palm of our guests’ hands.

“Target is investing significantly in new mobile capabilities and expanding our teams so that we can enhance the mobile experience for our guests and continue to drive growth in traffic and sales.”

Fundamentally new experiences
Digital transformation is one of Target’s top three priorities, according to a post on the retailer’s blog about the new advisory council. The idea is for Target to become more flexible in enabling consumers to shop with the brand where and when they want.

The Digital Advisory Council is one way Target hopes to accomplish its goals. The council consists of executives with technology know-how: CEO and OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, Orbitz Worldwide’s Roger Liew, Bain Capital Ventures’ Ajay Agarwal and Accompani CEO and former Google Analytics lead Amy Chang.

Target will look for the council to help accelerate innovation and guide its digital strategies.

In a pair of video featuring the council talking about their ideas for Target, they touched on the significant opportunities there are to marry online and in-store experiences as well as leveraging physical assets and marrying them with mobile and digital to create fundamentally new experiences. CEO Sam Yagan talks Target and tech

Loyalty a possibility
The move is a good one because Target needs to think outside of the box in terms of addressing the entire customer journey, according to Sheryl Kingstone, Toronto-based research director at Yankee Group.

“Target has been doing good work since they stopped complaining about showrooming and started doing something about it last Christmas,” Ms. Kingstone said. “Now they just have to continue down that path and really leverage mobile and not use it as a defensive strategy.”

Target’s Digital Advisory Council visits Target HQ

One possible direction Target could head is a bigger push into loyalty.  

“If they created more mobile offers that are integrated with a loyalty program then start tracking it in more of a reward program, that is what consumers want,” Ms. Kingstone said. “They want reasons to go back to their mobile phones.”

The Digital Advisory Council could also help Target get top-level support for its mobile push so it can differentiate itself with truly innovative mobile solutions.

“It is about generating new ideas and executing with the leadership,” Ms. Kingstone said. “They could have a stumbling block with the executives that don’t really understand the value that mobile and digital bring to the table for the future and by bringing in an advisory council, it is saying, this is more than just what we say, this is what our advisory council is saying.

“It helps put more meat on the tablet in pushing for more execution and funds,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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