As it looks to kick-start its digital efforts and to innovate faster, Target Corp. has tapped executives from industries such as online dating and travel to be part of a new digital advisory council.
The Minneapolis-based company said Wednesday that it will lean on this panel of tech gurus to guide the company’s omnichannel strategies and better connect with customers. Target also will hire at least 50 software engineers for Target.com and its mobile product teams this year as it seeks to remake itself digitally.
The new council will provide “fresh, disruptive ideas that will help us reinvent the Target run for tomorrow’s guests,” said Casey Carl, Target’s president of omnichannel, in a statement Wednesday.
Target has long been criticized for not being nimble enough online. Two years ago, the company suffered an embarrassment as its website couldn’t properly process orders following the rollout of its popular Missoni collection. More recently, it has lagged rivals in a service that allows customers to buy products online and pick them up in-store. Wal-Mart added the feature about two years ago, while Target didn’t do so until the end of last year.
The company, however, has said accelerating its digital transformation is now one of its top priorities, along with fixing its faltering Canadian operations and increasing sales at its U.S. stores.
Next month, Target also will begin testing a same-day delivery service in Minneapolis, Miami, and Boston.
The advisory council includes Ajay Agarwal, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures; Amy Chang, CEO of Accompani, formerly of Google’s analytics unit; Roger Liew, chief technology officer of Orbitz Worldwide; and Sam Yagan, CEO of the Match Group and OkCupid.
The council will meet quarterly as a group with Target’s omnichannel team and other leaders. The council members will serve two-year terms with an optional third year.
As for the upcoming hiring bonanza of software engineers, Target said most of them will be based in Minneapolis, while others will work in San Francisco.
Eddie Baeb, a Target spokesman, said the retailer plans to continue hiring more software engineers for its digital product teams into 2015.