Target goes hunting in Silicon Valley, following Wal-Mart

Target goes hunting in Silicon Valley, following Wal-Mart

Fri, May 17 2013

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote,ProfileResearchStock Buzz) said on Friday it opened a new San Francisco office to track down technology companies that can help the second-largest U.S. retailer grow its online commerce business. Target’s Technology Innovation Center is run by David Newman, an executive who spent six years at the online business of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: QuoteProfile,ResearchStock Buzz), which has had a major presence in Silicon Valley for several years. “Partnership is in our DNA and early-stage companies can sense that and are proving to be very willing to partner and co-develop,” said Newman. Many retailers are pouring money into new technology to help them catch up with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O:QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), which has become the world’s largest retailer by grabbing market share from traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. Mobile commerce, powered by smartphone-wielding shoppers, is a particular focus of retailers because this technology has the potential to revitalize in-store sales.Target’s San Francisco office will focus on “core commerce” initiatives, such as speeding up the company’s website. However, it also aims to bring more digital shopping experiences into the retailer’s physical stores through smartphones, Newman said.

One area Target is exploring is “augmented reality,” which uses smartphone cameras to give shoppers a digital view of store aisles and show them related products, Newman said.

That technology is still a long way off, but Newman noted that Target is already working with eBay Inc (EBAY.O: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) and Google Inc (GOOG.O: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), two Silicon Valley giants, on same-day delivery tests.

Target also recently began testing a service that allows its employees to order products online and pick them up in the retailer’s stores. The company plans to roll this out to customers this Fall.

Wal-Mart’s e-commerce offices, south of San Francisco, have churned out a slew of new online and mobile technology in recent years and these efforts might be showing early signs of success.

First-quarter e-commerce sales jumped 30 percent from a year earlier, Wal-Mart reported earlier this week.

“The company seems to be gaining traction in several geographies with different technologies such as Scan & Go, Ship from Store and increased mobile capabilities,” Robert Drbul, a retail analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note to investors on Thursday.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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