Target launching millennial-focused registry, adding mobile features

Target (NYSE:TGT) is taking aim at millennials with new online and mobile marketing programs and a college registry for students heading off to campus.

The registry launched in early June as a beta test, just in time for graduation. College-bound students can register for everything they'll need for the dorm or new apartment.

It also invites friends and family to sign up for Target's subscription service that delivers a steady stream of everyday essentials to the student's door. Target essentials launched in fall 2013 and was expanded in April to include cleaning supplies, household goods, pet products and health and beauty aids.

The retailer is wrapping up the new registry in a targeted program designed to appeal to younger shoppers. In-store kiosks used for registries are being replaced with iPads connected to Target.com and scanning guns are being replaced with iPod Touches, according to USA Today.

It's all part of an effort to make Target more appealing to millennials, a group the retailer has been unsuccessful in winning over.

Target is beta testing a new feature in 41 stores that lets shoppers build shopping lists and then locates each item within the store. There's also a new ship-from-store initiative to help streamline deliveries and boost omnichannel efforts.

There will also be more personalized product recommendations via a new personalization platform that has been in the works for the past nine months, according to the report.

There's a very real need for Target to improve its online program, once operated by Amazon and now a cluttered and static experience. But where Target lags behind in Web operations, it excels in mobile— nearly two-thirds of its online traffic comes from mobile.

Target's mobile coupon-clipping app, Cartwheel, leads all other major retailers in terms of time shoppers spend browsing and buying on mobile apps, according to comScore. The amount of time shoppers spent browsing and shopping Target via mobile devices rose 251 percent in March compared to a year earlier.

"Mobile is becoming a front door with Target," Casey Carl, Target's president of omnichannel strategy and experiences told USA Today. "That's really where we're going."

There is seismic change at Target today. The retailer has cleaned house following a disastrous data breach that compromised the personal and credit information of more than 70 million shoppers and a fumbled market entry into Canada. CEO Gregg Steinhafel stepped down, as did the head of Canadian operations.

Target's annual shareholder meeting will be held Wednesday, June 11 in Dallas, far away from the retailer's Minneapolis home. Calls have come for the company to move faster and build out online, mobile and omnichannel programs.

For more:
-See this USA Today story

Related stories:
Target leads m-commerce growth
Target gets serious about its digital transformation
Hispanics have higher rates of mobile engagement at retail
Holiday 2013: Mobile traffic soared, Apple beats Android
Target defends pre-breach actions

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