Stores

Target invests in generative AI tool for employees

The retailer will provide an AI-powered chatbot to employees at 2,000 stores by August. Other companies are getting similar ideas.
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Target is putting the power of generative AI in its employees’ hands. On Thursday, the retailer announced that it will give team members at its nearly 2,000 stores an AI-powered chatbot called Store Companion by August. The app will be available on specially equipped handheld devices, and it can coach new employees and answer on-the-job process questions like “How do I restart the cash register if the power goes out?”

Mark Schindele, EVP and chief stores officer at Target, echoed other retail GenAI adopters like Walmart when he said the app “frees up time and attention for our team to serve guests with care and to create a shopping destination that invites discovery, ease and moments of everyday joy."

  • The company developed the tool using real FAQs and process documents from its stores. It’s piloting the app in 400 stores and seeking employee feedback.
  • The chatbot is just one of Target’s AI initiatives—it’s also using AI to improve the search function and product display pages on Target.com.

These kinds of investments in AI-powered automation are becoming more common, according to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond and Atlanta. The group’s latest CFO Survey found that almost 60% of companies and 84% of large companies invested in software, equipment, and technology to automate employee tasks over the past year, and 54% of firms plan to use AI to do so over the next 12 months.

“CFOs say their firms are tapping AI to automate a host of tasks, from paying suppliers, invoicing, procurement, financial reporting, and optimizing facilities utilization,” Duke finance professor John Graham, academic director of the survey, said in a news release. “This is on top of companies using ChatGPT to generate creative ideas and to draft job descriptions, contracts, marketing plans, and press releases.”

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.