Target Launches Chainwide GenAI-Powered Chatbot, Store Companion

Target Launches Chainwide GenAI-Powered Chatbot, Store Companion

Target plans to roll out a new genAI-powered chatbot designed to aid store associates in nearly all of its 2,000 stores following a six-month pilot at 400 locations. 

The majority of Target’s associates will have the tool, called Store Companion, in hand by August to help with on-the-job process questions, new team member training, store operations management and other tasks.

The Store Companion chatbot will be available as an app on store associates’ specially equipped handheld devices, providing immediate answers to their questions about processes and procedures. For example, team members can input prompts like “How do I sign a guest up for a Target Circle Card?” and “How do I restart the cash register in the event of a power outage?” and receive instructions and resources in seconds. The tool also serves as a store process expert and coach to help new and seasonal team members learn on the job.

GenAI is game-changing technology, and Store Companion will make daily tasks easier and enable our team to respond to guests’ requests with confidence and efficiency,” said Mark Schindele, EVP and Chief Stores Officer at Target, in a statement. “The tool frees up time and attention for our team to serve guests with care and to create a shopping destination that invites discovery, ease and moments of everyday joy.”

To develop the tool, Target’s in-house technology team used real frequently asked questions and process documents from its store teams across the US. Feedback from the 400-store pilot was also integrated into the version of the tool now rolling out chainwide.

“Streamlining day-to-day tasks goes a long way with our team members and adds up to more time spent with guests and a better guest experience across the store,” shared Jake Seaquist, Store Director at one of the pilot locations in Champlin, Minn., in a statement 

GenAI Also in Use at Target HQ and Website

The Store Companion initiative is part of Target’s broader effort to use emerging genAI technologies across its business. The retailer said in a statement that it also plans to roll out another internal genAI tool in the coming months, starting with its headquarters team members, although details of what that tool would be designed to do were not shared.  

“When placed in the hands of Target’s most important asset, its team, this technology has the potential to transform day-to-day tasks and empower team members to be more efficient and spend time doing the most meaningful work,” explained Target in the statement.  

Target also is already using genAI in a variety of areas to enhance its digital customer experience, including genAI-powered product pages, guided search capabilities and reviews summaries designed to make it easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for and have confidence in their purchases. The company expects to have more than 100,000 of its website pages live with these enhancements by the end of the summer.

Target plans to continue testing “dozens of additional genAI applications” throughout 2024 and beyond. “We know technology will continue to play an outsized role in the future of retail — for our team members, our guests and our business,” said Brett Craig, EVP and Chief Information Officer at Target, in a statement. “The transformative nature of genAI is helping us accelerate the rate of innovation across our operations, and we’re excited about the role these new tools and applications will play in driving growth.”