retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fortune reports that Target "will test a program that will give customers more detail on delivery timing for items ordered online ... Target will start testing a new program in the fall called 'available to promise' that aims to tell shoppers with more specificity when their item will be delivered to their homes, and improve customer satisfaction.

"As part of the program," the story says, "customers will receive an e-mail notifying him or her when a package is arriving within a narrower window, typically two or three days, potentially offering improved shipping times, but certainly removing some of the uncertainty in online ordering."

CEO Brain Cornell told an investors meeting last week that "we believe this capability will drive further increases in digital conversion rates, which are already improving rapidly, as guests respond to a faster and firmer delivery commitment."

The story notes that "Target saw a 30% rise in digital sales in the second quarter, a decent clip, but below the 40% rate Cornell has set as a goal for the retailer in the coming years ... By the crucial holiday season, Target will be using 450 of its 1,800 stores to help fulfill online orders, up from 140 now. It already has equipped its stores to allow customers to pick up online orders there. All of which connects back to the central premise of the 'available to promise' program."
KC's View:
We have a story below about how one journalist wrote a piece comparing Amazon, Walmart's online store and Jet. Target's goal has to be to be part of that discussion ... to be so aggressive that one cannot leave it out of any consideration of the nation's best online retailers.