Target launches Accelerator program to develop new apps

Target (NYSE: TGT) launched its Accelerator program in India Tuesday, as the retailer steps up efforts to build new mobile 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—channels the retailer is busily building.

The early success of Cartwheel, the retailer's new app, is being touted as a model in the retail industry for its reported high customer engagement. And last week, Target 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.

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."

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, education, in-store and personalization.

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.

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.

For more:
-See this announcement from Target
-See this TechCrunch story

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