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Target (TGT) to Roll Out GenAI Tool Store Companion Nationwide

Target Corporation TGT has announced its plans to introduce a new generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) tool named Store Companion to team members across nearly 2,000 stores by August 2024. This initiative will make Target the first major retailer to implement GenAI technology for store staff on a nationwide scale.

Store Companion is a GenAI-powered chatbot specifically designed by Target to support store operations and enhance the working experience of team members. The tool aims to simplify the jobs of Target’s store staff by providing immediate and accurate answers to various procedural questions.

For instance, if a team member needs to know how to sign a guest up for a Target Circle Card or restart a cash register in the event of a power outage, Store Companion can provide instructions and resources within seconds. Beyond handling process-related queries, Store Companion also functions as a coach, particularly for new and seasonal team members, helping them to quickly learn and adapt to their roles.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


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Implementation and Testing

The rollout of Store Companion follows a successful pilot phase involving about 400 stores. During this phase, the in-house technology team at Target collected frequently asked questions and processed documents from store teams across the United States to develop a robust and practical tool. The feedback from the pilot stores has been overwhelmingly positive.

According to Jake Seaquist, store director at one of the pilot locations in Champlin, MN, the tool has significantly streamlined day-to-day tasks, thereby allowing team members to spend more time interacting with guests and enhancing their shopping experience. Experienced team members also contributed to the tool’s development by sharing their expertise and adding valuable materials, helping to refine Store Companion before its wider release.

Broader GenAI Strategy Bodes Well

Store Companion is part of Target's comprehensive approach to integrating GenAI technology across its business. In addition to Store Companion, Target plans to introduce another GenAI tool for its headquarters team members in the coming months. This move underscores Target's commitment to leveraging advanced technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness across all levels of the organization.

Target is utilizing GenAI to enhance its digital consumer experience. This includes improvements to product display pages on Target.com, where GenAI is used to summarize reviews and create more relevant product descriptions, helping shoppers make informed purchasing decisions. GenAI also enriches product titles with additional information, making it easier for customers to find the items they need quickly. By the end of the summer, more than 100,000 product pages are expected to have undergone these enhancements.

Additionally, Target has started rolling out a GenAI-powered Guided Search feature on its website. This feature allows customers to use conversational language in their searches, leading to more intelligent and curated search results. For example, a search for "summer party" will yield a comprehensive selection of related items, from party supplies and invitations to outdoor tableware, grilling meat, snacks, drinks, and even commonly forgotten items like sun protection and insect repellents. This enhanced search experience will be fully available to all consumers later this summer.

Wrapping Up

Target is dedicated to the safe and responsible use of GenAI technology. The company is focused on building a GenAI ecosystem that not only drives its business forward but also enhances the experiences of both team members and guests. Target’s strategic approach to GenAI underscores its commitment to embracing the future of retail while maintaining a strong focus on innovation and growth.

We note that shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 8.3% in the past year compared with the industry’s 38% growth.

Key Picks

Here we have highlighted three better-ranked stocks, namely The Gap, Inc. GPS, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. ANF and Walmart WMT.

Gap is a premier international specialty retailer offering a diverse range of clothing, accessories and personal care products. The company currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Gap’s fiscal 2024 earnings and sales indicates growth of 21.7% and 0.2%, respectively, from fiscal 2023. GPS has a trailing four-quarter average earnings surprise of 202.7%.

Abercrombie is a specialty retailer of premium, high-quality casual apparel. The company sports a Zacks Rank of 1, at present. ANF delivered a 28.9% earnings surprise in the last quarter.

The consensus estimate for Abercrombie’s current fiscal-year earnings and sales indicates growth of 47.3% and 10.4%, respectively, from fiscal 2023. ANF has a trailing four-quarter average earnings surprise of 210.3%.

Walmart, which operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Walmart’s current financial-year sales and earnings implies growth of 4.2% and 9%, respectively, from the year-ago period. WMT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 8.3%, on average.

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