PLMA October Leaderboard

Target on the lookout for true innovation

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MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. said it held the first of the “demo days” it has planned for this year to help its innovation team find start-up businesses capable of developing new products for sale in Target stores and on its ­website.

The team invited a dozen companies to the Target Technology Innovation Center in San Francisco to pitch ideas on “smart baby technologies.”

Each company had 20 minutes to showcase its products and receive real-time feedback from innovation team members. “We saw everything from smart baby monitors to smart health products,” Target said on its “A Bullseye View” blog.

“We know that consumers are living their lives more connected than ever, and we are working to bring more innovative products to them,” Gene Han, a Target vice president and head of the innovation office, said in the blog post. “Being in San Francisco, my team can find innovative technologies and meet with start-ups, then connect them with the buyers in Minneapolis to make things happen.”

Baby is one of the “signature categories” that chief executive Brian Cornell has identified for emphasis as the retailer pursues its growth strategy.

Target said in late February that comparable-store sales in the signature categories (style, baby, kids and wellness) increased by nearly 7% in the fourth quarter, compared with 1.9% comp growth overall.

Target said future demo days are planned around the categories of wellness, style, kids, home and pets.


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