Target's chief information officer says company's use of AI aims to foster emotional connection with customers; solutions include forecasting demand to keep items from going out of stock, personalized ads via company's retail media business, Roundel

Sample article from our Retail & Omnichannel

December 18, 2023 (press release) –

’Tis the season to ensure you’re truly experiencing the joy of holiday shopping here at the Bullseye. At the heart of creating that easy, joyful and affordable experience day in and day out: our incredible Target team. But behind the scenes, there’s another important way we’re staying one step ahead of your biggest needs during the holidays and all year round …

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a big role in helping Target take guests’ experience to a whole new level. Personalizing your experience and keeping your favorite must-haves on our physical and digital shelves, where — and when — you need them are two big ways, but there are many, many more.

Go behind the scenes with Target’s chief information officer

Our world-class technologists are constantly exploring and experimenting with new ways AI can improve your Target experience. For more, we asked Chief Information Officer Brett Craig how Target uses AI to deliver an easier, more affordable and more personalized experience for every guest during the holidays and all year round.

Q:

Brett, why are you excited about AI?

A:

The role of tech within the retail industry is growing rapidly, and the opportunity to use transformative tools like AI to power Target’s business today and into the future is really energizing. We’ve been using AI for many years to support our team and drive speed and efficiency across all our operations — everything from our supply chain and inventory management systems all the way to applications in the checkout lines in our stores and on our website and app. But what’s most exciting is how it helps us bring a little joy to our guests as they’re shopping at Target — during the holidays and all year round.

Q:

We’ve heard a lot about how AI is being used today. What sets Target’s approach to AI apart?

A:

Maximizing the impact of AI requires agility and flexibility. That’s why, many years ago, we began building an infrastructure that allows us to move quickly and efficiently, and to embrace the incredible rate of change made possible by AI. This solid foundation — which we continue to build on each day — allows our team to continue focusing on what’s next for our business and our guests.

And, as you’d expect from Target, this means guest-centric AI solutions that help foster the emotional connection our guests feel when they shop with us — going well beyond simply helping guests find everything they need. AI is driving the inspiration and ease that come with a personalized shopping experience, regardless of when, where or how guests are shopping. And it’s at the heart of the tools that give our store teams more time to deliver the Target magic that drives so much guest loyalty and love.

 

Every day, I see the amazing work our team is doing as part of the growing role of tech in a constantly changing retail industry. It’s an opportunity that we not only embrace but are well positioned to take advantage of as our talented team helps shape the future of retail.

Brett Craig Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Q:

Tell us more about how Target’s using AI during the holiday season.

A:

Tech plays an indispensable role in ensuring that Target is at its best during the holidays. From every store transaction and online order to each Drive Up interaction and guest service center call — the list goes on and on. And technology powers all of it.

More and more, that includes AI-driven solutions, which are instrumental to how we deliver joy for our guests throughout the season and all year-round.

AI helps us ensure our guests find the holiday gifts and essentials they need by forecasting product demand and keeping items from going out of stock. It even helps us predict and correct when a store has an unknown out-of-stock item — something that could otherwise disappoint guests during the busiest time of the year. And further up the supply chain, we use AI to ensure inventory is in the right locations so we can quickly and efficiently respond as demand fluctuates.

AI also helps us serve up a personalized shopping experience for our guests. We do it via Target Circle — our loyalty program — and on Target.com, helping guests find the products and deals that are most relevant to them. That includes connecting our guests to the brands they love through product ad placements through our retail media business, Roundel. If you opened my Target app, for instance, you’d most likely see — thanks to AI — offers related to vinyl records and Favorite Day snack mixes.

Q:

What’s next for AI at Target? Are we exploring generative AI?

A:

What’s next is continued — and continuous — AI experimentation and innovation, including our ongoing exploration of team- and guest-facing use cases for generative AI. We continue to focus on opportunities that drive meaningful improvements for our team and our guests, as well as long-term growth for Target.

Every day, I see the amazing work our team is doing as part of the growing role of tech in a constantly changing retail industry. It’s an opportunity that we not only embrace but are well positioned to take advantage of as our talented team helps shape the future of retail.

Your best experience yet

We’ve pulled out all the stops to make shopping easy, inspiring and affordable this holiday season and beyond. Head to our Holiday Hub to find more ways we’re leveling up your experience. (Did someone say Hilary Duff?)

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