Target pins hopes on e-commerce, online shoppers

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Wal-Mart has long been considered the chief rival to Minneapolis-based Target. But a story in the Wall Street Journal makes a persuasive case that Target is actually chasing e-commerce giant Amazon as it prepares for a future with more online sales and product delivery.

The paper writes that Target's latest online efforts "...have a distinct Amazon feel—from recurring deliveries for diapers to on-demand streaming video and free shipping and discounts for its members." It notes that Target plans to expand its subscriptions to offer coffee, personal care products, paper towels and toilet paper.

The story says that by next year, Target will spend more of its $2.3 billion capital budget on updating and expanding technology than it will on its physical stores. "We have to double-down, and we are doubling, tripling and quadrupling down," Target's Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel told the Journal in an interview about using digital tools to drive future sales.

Earlier, the Business Journal had a story about how Target will use Pinterest as a major part of its holiday marketing, with pinboards in TV ads, top-pinned items included in stores and on Target.com, and celebrity-curated boards.

Pinterest won’t make money in the Target campaign but will get mass exposure on television and in Target stores. A story in Fast Company magazine said that Target is the most-shared brand on Pinterest. The story said an earlier project gave Target the confidence to work closely with Pinterest. Last spring, Target worked with Pinterest on a project that used technology-enabled pins for product information. It generated a whopping 70% increase in visits to Target.com.

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