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VIDEO: Target leveraging beacons, Bluetooth for in-store navigation

BY Marianne Wilson

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is making it easier for customers to find their way around its stores — and to quickly find what they are looking for.

The chain is integrating beacon and Bluetooth technology into its mobile app. It will show the shopper’s location in real-time on the app’s map as they move about the store, and display nearby Cartwheel deals. Shoppers will also be able to find an item on the map through their digital shopping list.

In a posting on its website, Target describes the new technology as “a GPS for your shopping cart.”

“Just click on an item from your list and the app will indicate on a store map the precise aisle where you can find your item,” explained Target chief information and digital officer Mike McNamara in a video that accompanied the posting. (To see the video, click here.)

The new app technology will be live in across half of the chain in time for the holidays. It comes on the heels of another mobile enhancement: Target’s integration of its Cartwheel app within its mobile app. Both efforts are part of the company’s commitment to turnaround its business.

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Walgreens taps IBM retail analytics to maximize tech infrastructure

BY Michael Johnsen

ARMONK, N.Y.  — IBM on Friday announced a new agreement with Walgreens to deploy IBM retail analytics at more than 8,100 locations nationwide to help improve the efficiency of field service support for these locations.

“Extending our multivendor services capabilities to support Walgreens stores sets an exciting new benchmark in an evolving retail industry, but it does not stop there,” stated Martin Jetter, SVP IBM Global Technology Services. “As a cloud services integrator, IBM is always driven by the desire to think differently about the way we manage our clients’ services and underlying infrastructure in any business, and we are well suited to help them achieve the results they are looking for.”

With IBM’s support of IT systems at Walgreens stores, IBM’s capabilities to integrate hardware and software from different vendors under one roof will lead to more efficient operation of technology across the store, the company stated.

IBM Cloud also will be used to determine the level of support that will likely be needed at each Walgreens location based on service request history. In the future, this information may enable better anticipation and coordination when dispatching field technicians, so they arrive at the right time to resolve an issue. These data-driven insights may help to identify the most frequent service calls at a given location and bundle those requests into one service call to minimize repeated instances of system downtime.

 

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Target grows reach of Restock next-day delivery

BY Marianne Wilson

MINNEAPOLIS — The delivery wars continue to heat up as Target announced it was rolling out its next-day delivery service of household essentials, Target Restock, to eight new markets.

The pilot launched in June in the retailer's Minneapolis-St. Paul hometown market, and was expanded — with some tweaks — in August, to the Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver areas. On Thursday, Target said it is expanding the service to the Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C./Baltimore areas.

"The service is now live in 10 markets and will be available to guests in the San Francisco area beginning in mid-October — meaning the service area will reach 70 million people, about one-fifth of the U.S. population," the retailer said in a blog post on its website.

To date, some of the most popular items for Target Restock in the three existing markets – Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis – have been on-the-go snacks, beverages, cereal, macaroni and cheese and paper towels, according to Target.

To take advantage the Target program, shoppers go to the dedicated Target Restock online storefront where they can shop the assortment, which includes more than 15,000 items. As shoppers fill up a box, a grey bar at the top of their screen will show the percentage of space each item in the box has taken up and the percentage of space that's left. (The box is limited to 45 lbs.)

The items will be packaged at a nearby store. If the order is placed by 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, it will arrive at the customer’s home the next business day. (The service has a flat fee of $4.99 per box).

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