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Less Is More: Target Opens Its First TargetExpress

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

In a new attempt to appeal to and rebuild its dwindling base of Millennial customers, Target opened the doors of its first TargetExpress store in Minneapolis, Minn. last week. The abbreviated 20,000-square-feet retail venue was designed specifically for the generation of consumers known for being acclimated to speedy and efficient shopping experiences.

Located near the University of Minnesota campus, the beta store–approximately 15 percent the size of an average Target–is conveniently located for students and the area’s urban dwellers, and offers beauty products, electronics and convenience food. So far the only items of apparel to be offered are socks and underwear.

With the addition of TargetExpress stores, the retailer aims to eliminate many of the “pain points” the company found in its consumer research, including long checkout lines, navigational challenges and “uninspiring offerings.” In a statement, Target executive vice president of property development, John Griffith, said, “This is an exciting opportunity to test and learn as we continue to explore new ways to meet our guests’ needs and exceed their expectations.”

Target has been troubled recently by declining traffic for the last six consecutive quarters. Retail rivals of the firm have cut away at its market share with fast-fashion offerings and aggressive online sales programs. Target management hopes TargetExpress will reverse that trend.

Part of TargetExpress’ initiative for swift and easy service is the feature of an in-store pickup facility for online purchases. The store’s signage is also compatible with Target’s recently launched image recognition app called, In a Snap. The app enables customers to scan images of products in promotional materials to learn more details and availability.

The Minnesota-based retail giant plans to open four more TargetExpress stores for 2015, three in San Francisco and one in St. Paul, Minn.

As always, the competition never rests. Walmart announced plans to open some 300 small stores this year, continuing its roll out of Walmart Express and Neighborhood Market stores–retailing concepts similar to TargetExpress that are also focused on convenience.

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