Target Corp. has long had different websites for smartphones, tablets and desktops. Now it’s cut them down to just one site that can be viewed on any device.
The final steps took place over the last few weeks as the Minneapolis-based retailer has slowly flipped the switch in shifting its desktop site to the same interface as its mobile site.
For consumers, the most apparent changes are less text on the home- page and more pictures for a more visual experience. And it should hopefully lead to a more seamless experience as consumers move from one device to another, with items they put in their basket following them from one platform to another.
“So many guests shop in different platforms,” said Eddie Baeb, a Target spokesman. “Having an experience that looks similar across those things is more intuitive. We know that’s what guests want.”
For Target, the transition to one system means there is less to maintain and updates will happen faster and uniformly. The first part of that process took place last year when Target switched out its mobile site to one that could also be used for desktop.
The site relaunch represents the first major overhaul of the website since 2011, when Target rolled out a revamped site after taking over operations of Target.com after outsourcing it for years to Amazon.com.
Baeb noted that the infrastructure was built in-house by Target’s technology teams in the Twin Cities and in Bangalore, India. That is a shift from the past when Target relied more on outside vendors for such tasks. But under chief information officer Mike McNamara, Target has been on a hiring spree to add 500 engineers to its roster in the Twin Cities so the company can do more of this work on its own.
Baeb noted that the new site might be a bit of an adjustment for some customers because some things may have moved around.
“When you launch something like this, it’s not going to be perfect,” he said. “There’s going to be some kinks. But we ultimately believe it’s a cleaner, more intuitive experience.”
The site relaunch is part of a larger effort by Target not only to improve its digital offerings, but to simplify them. It also recently disabled its iPad app, noting that the Target smartphone app also works on tablets.
In total, Target is spending about $1 billion this year on technology to upgrade its supply chain and improve its digital prowess.
The company also recently elevated Jason Goldberger, the president of target.com, to become its first chief digital officer. The changes to the website, he said, are part of Target’s effort to appeal to consumers who are increasingly comfortable shopping from their smartphones.
“People rely more than ever on their phones for everything in life, from interactions with friends to scheduling to shopping,” Goldberger said in a statement. “We’ve talked for years about being a mobile-first retailer. This move takes us from mobile first to mobile only.”