Target Corporation (TGT)’s ‘Available To Promise’ to Take on, Inc. (AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)


Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) is experimenting with a program that provides customer more details on the delivery schedule for goods ordered online. It is pretty annoying to order items online and then be informed that the item will be delivered in 8 to 12 days a time windows that is quite wide and long too.

So in its latest endeavor to forge ahead in the e-commerce battles, Target will begin experimenting with a new program during fall termed “available to promise” that strives to inform shoppers with greater specificity when their goods will be delivered and enhance customer satisfaction.

In the program, customers will get an e-mail informing him or her when a package will be delivered inside a narrower window, usually two to three days giving better shipping times and also eliminating a certain amount of the uncertainty characteristic of online ordering.

Target CEO Brian Cornell said that they believe this step will improve digital conversion rates that are already getting better quickly as guests prefer quicker and firmer commitment of delivery.

Target experienced a 30% increase in digital sales during the second quarter a decent performance but less than the 40% rate Cornell has made a goal for the company. Target has achieved substantial progress in reducing its e-commerce gap with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). It is pumping in big amounts of funds and will spend $1 billion this year on its digital infrastructure.

The coupling of e-commerce and stores has made handling inventory and shipping it to outlets or to customer’s residence very complex. This has stretched Target’s supply chain well beyond what it was built to do back in the brick-and-mortar era where goods just flowed from vendors to distribution outlets to stores.

By holiday season, Target will be utilizing 450 of its 1,800 outlets to meet online orders an increase from 140 now. It has put in place facilities in its stores letting customers collect online orders at the stores.