Inside Target’s New Innovation Test Labs

Target has been known for being a traditional retailer making forward-thinking ideas in the digital space — and now it’s taken that vision a step further by launching an initiative called LA25.

What exactly is LA25? Well, Target is using 25 of its Los Angeles stores to test what Target calls “new innovations” that the retailer hopes brings its in-store and omnichannel shopping experience to the next level. That means testing 50 enhancements — focused on digital and smart devices — that help drive the digitally savvy customer through Target, whether it be online or in-store.

“Some of the tests will be programs and services already piloting in other markets; others are brand-new ideas we’ve never tried before. But the chance to test them all in a single market environment will help us see which elements work best together. We’ll use what we learn to build the best-performing enhancement combos into our future store prototypes and design plans,” Target explained in its blog post about the test program.

The tests will roll out in two waves, with the first starting in just a few weeks; the second round of upgrades will launch next spring. Along with the digital product tests, Target will overhaul its sales floor by making displays more interactive and helpful. The stores will also keep their displays more in line with the newest products and trends, Target wrote in the blog.

Besides the focus on its stores, Target has also created the role of Digital Service Ambassadors. In this role, in-store employees will help shoppers tap into the retailer’s digital channels. This means showcasing the mobile app, Cartwheel and helping with the buy online, pick up in-store orders.

On the technology front, Target will be testing its RFID tech to determine how team members can track down missing products for guests in a more efficient manner. Recently, Target rolled out beacons on a trial basis at 50 of its stores across the country.

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