Target (NYSE: TGT) launched its Accelerator program in India Tuesday, as the retailer steps up efforts to build new technology solutions.
Target's Accelerator program taps into India's burgeoning tech sector, and is looking for companies to help develop new ideas across retail platforms with a focus on mobile and multimedia. Executives have been speaking publicly about the early success of Cartwheel, the retailer's new app, and last week announced a new program that will jointly develop mobile games with vendor partners.
The initiative is in partnership with Co.Labs, part of Fast Company's Co. network. The effort is essentially a challenge to startups and officially begins March 8.
Target will offer API access to each of the seven finalists, marking the first time access has been granted to the public. Each finalist will also be paired with a liaison from Target to help their app fit the Target platform.
The goal, as outlined on the site, is "to build a mobile shopping experience that caters to customers who visit Target's 1,778 stores. When the dust settles, the Co.Labs and Target Retail Accelerator will show the industry just what kind of magic the future of retail has in store."
"The submissions should be native mobile apps, mobile web apps, or another mobile service that extends the Target customer experience in some useful, instructive, or entertaining way. The entries should demonstrate not only a clear vision, but show how they will be implemented technologically using wireframes and plan documents."
Target has outlined four key areas of interest and the winning apps should address one or more of these:
- Social: Enabling customers to interact with one another, or Target
- Education: Helping students, teachers, and schools be more successful, and improving the community
- In-store: Extending and improving the experience within the store, or until the next visit
- Personalization: Catering to the unique tastes and needs of each individual customer
No word yet on who the judges will be. Target will own the winning app. The creators will receive seed money and be promoted by Target. The retailer frequently features contributors, designers and even its own executives on its Web site, A Bullseye View.
Target had intended to launch the program a month earlier, but has been otherwise occupied, dealing with the security breach that compromised the credit and personal information of more than 70 million Target shoppers.
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