Target creates Digital Advisory Council to speed omnichannel efforts

Minneapolis -- Target Corp. has formed a Digital Advisory Council as part of its efforts to accelerate its digital transformation. Target said the council will help guide the retailer’s omnichannel strategies and push it to innovate faster, and discover new ways to leverage technology to enhance the shopper experience – both online and in stores.

In addition to forming the new council, Target is bolstering its internal digital talent with plans to hire at least 50 new software engineers this year for and Mobile product teams. The engineers will be primarily based in Minneapolis, where they will work as part of the company’s new digital product teams. Some new engineers will be based in Target’s San Francisco office.

Target’s new digital council includes experts with varied tech backgrounds, and is comprised of:

  • Ajay Agarwal, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures;
  • Amy Chang, CEO/co-founder of Accompani, formerly led Google Analytics;
  • Roger Liew, chief technology officer of Orbitz Worldwide; and
  • Sam Yagan, CEO of the Match Group and CEO/founder of OkCupid.

“We believe this council can play an important role in Target’s digital transformation – one of our top priorities as a company,” said Casey Carl, president of Omnichannel, Target. “This new group is bringing their tremendous talents and experience to help guide Target’s strategies and tactics. They’re also providing fresh, disruptive ideas that will help us re-invent the Target run for tomorrow’s guests.”

The council will meet quarterly as a group with Carl and others driving Target’s omnichannel strategies, including and Mobile teams, the Enterprise Strategy team and other Target leaders. Council members, who will serve two-year terms with an optional third year, also will be called upon to provide guidance on various topics and to help Target connect with other tech leaders.

In the past year, Target has launched a number of successful digital initiatives, including the mobile coupon app Cartwheel, Target Subscriptions and Store Pickup, which allows guests to buy online at and pickup in a store. Target is now enhancing and expanding these services while also beginning to test new offerings like same-day delivery and the ability to ship online orders from stores.

“Target is pursuing an aggressive omnichannel agenda and we want to go faster,” said Carl. “We’re confident that efforts such as creating the council and adding new engineering talent to our organization will help us achieve our goal of becoming a leading omnichannel retailer.”

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- 12:32 PM
LanceThornswood says

Let's not forget that Target also laid off most of the mobile and "emerging media" teams in February, including most of the players responsible for innovations like Cartwheel and the other cited digital initiatives -- from the VP level on down. Most of these folks quickly found employment at other top retailers eager to advance their own omnichannel objectives. I applaud Target's efforts to finally engage with top leaders in tech and to move beyond "not invented here," but as a shareholder (albeit a small one) I'd strongly advise a more "back to basics" approach:

  • fix the front line problems called out in the recent Gawker expose and
  • figure out a way to empower and retain smart, high-powered, engaged worker bees who are going to execute the brilliant ideas generated in your quarterly advisory board meetings.

So much amazing talent has already jumped ship and gone to your competitors. Who's going to be left to realize the advisory board's strategic insights?

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