Unleashing online potential this fall

At least one retail analyst saw Target’s Black Friday in July promotion last week as an exercise in creative marketing and evidence that even bigger things could be coming this fall when the retailer ends a relationship with Amazon and brings its online efforts in-house.

Citigroup retail analyst Deb Weinswig said the Black Friday promotion “should also help to reinforce Target as a destination for deals and value ahead of the up-coming back-to-school and holiday seasons.”

The bigger opportunity though is for Target to increase overall online sales to a penetration rate comparable to others in the department store channel. Weinswig noted that Target’s estimated online sales of roughly $1 billion amounts to about 2% of the company’s total sales however other department store retailers she followed achieve penetration rates ranging from 4% to as high as 16%.

“As such, we believe there is significant online growth opportunity ahead for Target,” Weinswig said. “Target’s new platform, which will officially launch in (the third quarter), will completely transform the online experience for customers, driving traffic and sales by serving as the platform for Target’s multi-channel initiatives. More specifically, it will feature greater personalization, expert advice, navigation, product detail, and more compelling visual content.”