August 7, 2009, 12:00 AM

Leaving Amazon, Target aims to launch its own e-commerce site by late 2011

Target.com, which has operated on the Amazon.com platform since 2001, will migrate to its own e-commerce platform to better support a multichannel retailing strategy in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season, Target said today.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Target Corp.’s Target.com, which has operated on the Amazon.com platform since 2001, will migrate to its own e-commerce platform to better support a multichannel retailing strategy in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season, Target said today.

Steve Eastman, president of Target.com, says the retailer wants to take more direct control of its e-commerce operations to better serve customers both in its retail stores and online. “To deliver a customized multichannel experience for Target’s guests, we believe it is in Target’s best interest going forward to assume full control over the design and management of Target’s e-commerce technology platform, fulfillment and guest services operations,” he says.

Target, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, operates more than 1,700 stores in the U.S.

The retailer plans to develop a best-of-breed platform, with most functions managed in-house, as it builds on the strength of the e-commerce channel, a spokeswoman says. “We’ve consistently seen Target.com continue to be an important portion of our business, driving sales online and being an information source for guests and driving sales in stores,” she says. “So we’re placing quite a bit of emphasis internally now on a multichannel strategy with consistent branding and a consistently positive shopping experience in stores and online. That’s why we’ve decided to manage our own Target.com platform.”

Target, whose contract with Amazon.com Inc. runs into 2011, will continue to work closely with Amazon to optimize the performance of its existing e-commerce platform and fulfillment operation, the retailer says. “Amazon has been an important strategic partner since we re-launched Target.com in 2001, and the strength of Amazon’s technology and fulfillment services has been a contributing factor in Target.com’s success,” Eastman says. Target initially launched its own e-commerce site in 1999 before switching to the Amazon platform.

Target’s senior management is already working to develop a better multichannel strategy, which may include services such as in-store pickup of online orders, the spokeswoman says. “We’re looking into all types of things like that,” she says.

Eastman reports to executive vice president and chief marketing officer Michael Francis, who works closely with executive vice president of stores Troy Risch, the spokeswoman says. Both Francis and Risch report to Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

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