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HomeFashion & RetailTarget to Roll Out Transformative GenAI Technology to its Store Team Members Chainwide

Target to Roll Out Transformative GenAI Technology to its Store Team Members Chainwide

  • Retailer’s new GenAI-powered chatbot, Store Companion, is designed to make team members’ jobs easier and enhance the shopping experience 
  • The tool is scheduled to roll out to hundreds of thousands of team members across Target’s nearly 2,000 stores by August   
  • Target will continue to test and develop new GenAI applications that accelerate its business, empower its team and support its future growth   

Target Corporation today announced plans to roll out a new generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tool to team members at all of its nearly 2,000 stores by August, becoming the first major retailer to share that it is bringing this technology to its store team members across the U.S. The tool, called Store Companion, is a GenAI-powered chatbot designed by Target that can answer on-the-job process questions, coach new team members, support store operations management and more.

Target Corporation Store Companion AI

Store Companion’s goal is to make the teams’ jobs easier and allow them to work more quickly and efficiently, offering faster service and deeper guest engagement to make the shopping experience even better. The initiative is part of Target’s broader strategic approach to using GenAI across its business to empower its team, enhance the guest experience and support the company’s long-term growth.

“We know technology will continue to play an outsized role in the future of retail — for our team members, our guests and our business. With that in mind, we’re continually experimenting with new tools to make it even easier for our team to do their jobs and to bring more of what guests love about shopping at Target to life,” said Brett Craig, executive vice president and chief information officer, Target. “The transformative nature of GenAI is helping us accelerate the rate of innovation across our operations, and we’re excited about the role these new tools and applications will play in driving growth.”

How the Store Companion tool works

The Store Companion chatbot will be available as an app on store team members’ specially equipped handheld devices, providing immediate answers to their questions about processes and procedures. For example, team members can input prompts like “How do I sign a guest up for a Target Circle Card?” and “How do I restart the cash register in the event of a power outage?” and receive instructions and resources in seconds. The tool also serves as a store process expert and coach, helping new and seasonal team members learn on the job.

Testing, learning and improving the tool

“Generative AI is game-changing technology and Store Companion will make daily tasks easier and enable our team to respond to guests’ requests with confidence and efficiency,” said Mark Schindele, executive vice president and chief stores officer, Target. “The tool frees up time and attention for our team to serve guests with care and to create a shopping destination that invites discovery, ease and moments of everyday joy.”

To develop this best-in-class resource for its store team members, Target’s in-house technology team used real frequently asked questions and process documents from its store teams across the U.S. The team worked quickly, taking the project from its initial testing phase to planned rollout in just six months. Target is currently piloting the tool at about 400 stores, using the teams’ feedback to improve the experience ahead of the chainwide rollout.

Early feedback from pilot teams indicates that Store Companion is positively impacting their daily work.

“We’re hearing great feedback from our team about the new app,” said Jake Seaquist, store director at one of the pilot stores in Champlin, Minn. “Streamlining day-to-day tasks goes a long way with our team members and adds up to more time spent with guests and a better guest experience across the store.”

Since the pilot began, experienced team members have been sharing their expertise and adding materials to help shape the tool.

The power of AI across Target’s business

Store Companion is the latest example of how Target is accelerating its use of GenAI to create even more personalized and intuitive experiences for team members and consumers. In addition to Store Companion, the retailer plans to roll out another internal GenAI tool in the coming months, starting with its headquarters team members. When placed in the hands of Target’s most important asset, its team, this technology has the potential to transform day-to-day tasks and empower team members to be more efficient and spend time doing the most meaningful work.  

Target also is using GenAI to elevate its digital experience for consumers, including GenAI-powered product pages and search capabilities that curate the most relevant results and make it even easier for consumers to find everything they need when shopping on Target.com. For example:

  • Enhancements to thousands of product display pages on Target.com this year have created more relevant, guest-friendly experiences. Target is using GenAI to summarize reviews and make the product descriptions on its site pages even more relevant to help shoppers make confident purchase decisions. It also enhances the items’ product titles with more robust information to help shoppers search and find the right items faster. More than 100,000 of these pages are expected to be complete by the end of the summer.
  • Guided Search has begun rolling out on Target.com, which allows guests to search the site using conversational language and discover even more of the assortment through intelligent, curated results. For example, a search for “summer party” will return a broader range of relevant items, from party supplies and invitations to outdoor tableware, meat for grilling, a variety of snack and drink ideas and more. It also will help shoppers remember commonly forgotten items such as sun protection, insect repellents, outdoor games and other essentials. This enhanced search experience will continue to expand and will be available to all consumers later this summer.

In addition to these enhancements, Target will continue testing dozens of additional GenAI applications throughout 2024 and beyond. The retailer remains committed to the safe and responsible use of the technology and is focused on building a GenAI ecosystem that will continue to drive its business and enhance the team member and guest experiences while embracing the future of retail.

Miscellaneous

Statements in this release regarding the company’s future financial and operational performance and enhancements to its technologies and capabilities are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause the company’s results to differ materially. The most important risks and uncertainties are described in Item 1A of the company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2024. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

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