Target unveils more new tech tools

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Target unveils more new tech tools

By Gina Acosta - 10/31/2017

Target is making a slew of technology enhancements to stores to make shopping even easier for customers.

When shoppers can’t find the item they want in their size or they want a different color, customers no longer have to leave the store empty-handed. Now they can have a Target employee place an online order right from the sales floor and have the purchase shipped to their homes. 

“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.”

A new app called “myCheckout” is now available in team members’ handheld devices. Employees can use myCheckout to search 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, by the way.

Target says it's already done more than 10,000 transactions since it began testing the service in select stores this spring.

Watch as Mike McNamara explains more about myCheckout in this video.

To improve self-checkout in stores, Target’s tech team developed new, back-end software for the system and a new look for the front end that’s simpler and more intuitive for guests. Since the new system went live in August, self-checkout lanes are running smoother and faster than ever, sending guest satisfaction scores way up, the retailer says.

Target has also made investments in store wi-fi networks. The retailer has more than doubled wi-fi bandwidth in stores due to sweeping upgrades Target just completed to its network infrastructure, including the installation of more than 300 miles of fiber-optic cables to our stores and distribution centers.

The more robust network makes everything from wi-fi to checkout registers to team member handheld devices work better. 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.

Finally, to keep checkout registers, Order Pickup and other store services humming, 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 immediately begin troubleshooting and putting fixes in place, often before anyone at the store even realizes there’s an issue.

Target estimates this automation has saved 1,000 store team member hours since it rolled out over September and October. 

The Minneapolis-based discount chain has been making strides all year to better compete with Walmart, Amazon and other retailers, boosting online sales to 4.4 percent of revenue in the latest fiscal year, up from 2.8 percent in fiscal 2016.