ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Target streamlines in-store holiday shopping with app navigation features

Target is aiming to streamline in-store holiday shopping for its guests with the introduction of navigation features, such as interactive maps and shopping lists within its mobile application.

The updated app now enables guests to create shopping lists more easily, find locations of desired items and determine product availability at local stores. Developed with Point Inside technology, Target sought to create the best-in-class mobile experience for store shoppers, due to mobile’s growing influence on in-store retail.

“Although online is growing, in-store is also growing,” said Josh Marti, CEO and co-founder of Point Inside, Seattle. “A lot of people put these apps in place to not only help consumers shop, but to also measure those sales and measure the significance of sales so that they can understand how to blur the lines between the physical and digital world in the future.”

Enhanced features
The app’s enhanced features are part of Target’s year-long initiative to bolster its mobile strategy. The retail brand has recently rolled out a standalone pharmacy app, an app for gift registries with accompanying iPad kiosks in stores and a two-step checkout process (see story).

Target has also been leveraging its social media sites, particularly Instagram, for its Web and mobile site pages.

The new features are also part of the push to create a personalized, streamlined holiday shopping experience for all Target customers. The interactive maps will overlay product locations as pins on the map, enabling guests to easily find the aisles for their desired purchases.

Guests can now create shopping lists much more easily with the new feature that displays an item’s aisle location and links with the interactive map. Customers can start typing generic words, such as milk or eggs, and expect to see the rest of the word pop up immediately via an auto-complete functionality.

“It’s been proven that consumers really want answers to fundamental questions of retail: do you have the item I’m looking for, and where can I find it,” Mr. Marti said. “Target now has the full platform capability.”

Organized Black Friday shopping
Target will be leveraging its interactive maps for Black Friday shopping by providing store layouts and locations for doorbuster deals. Therefore, customers using the Target app will be able to expect a more organized shopping process this holiday season.

The app’s new features are also beneficial for guests and store associates. Customers that prefer to plan out their shopping plans and lists ahead of time will have an easy way of doing so, and store employees will not have to memorize changing store layouts.

Instead, they will be able to direct customers without the app to the appropriate location with the tap of a finger.

Point Inside believes that more brands are likely to continue in Target’s footsteps of blurring the line between the physical store and digital offerings.

“We believe this is one of many retailers to head that way,” Mr. Marti said. “We’re watching people like Amazon build physical stores now.”

However, Target’s consumer-first initiatives are certain to entice customers to download its app and visit stores to experience shopping more streamlined than it has ever been before.

“Consumers will start to get more comfortable as they plan out their shopping trip from home,” Mr. Marti said. “Target will be the premiere guest experience for mobile this holiday season.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York