An Analytics Success Story of Target

An Analytics Success Story of Target

Target became one of the leading retail corporations in the mid-1990s after it shifted its focus to specializing in upscale but cost-effective lifestyle and fashion products, which led double growth of its profits annually for over a decade. However, during the peak of the Great Recession in 2008, Target was one of the businesses that were adversely affected by the financial crisis prompting its management to change its strategies. The change involved improved mobile response and e-commerce data usage- monitoring of clients’ activities on the internet to determine the market trends. Furthermore, the company narrowed down how it measures success, which led to various useful discoveries.

One of the techniques Target utilized to achieve its success was making good use of the data collected relating to activities of its online users. Initially, Target was more concerned with its retailing services than considering the benefits of data collected regarding their online customers. However, when Paritosh Desai became Target’s Vice President of Business Intelligence, Analytics, and Testing in 2013, he initiated a hiring process that targeted analytical team for data interpretation such as individuals with specialties in computer science, statistics, physics, and math (Dina, 2018). The analytical team was mandated to determine the online activities of customers such as browsing habits, preferred products or items that are not checked out. Such actions enabled the team to create algorithms that promoted the supply chain, store sales, and marketing of products.

Boosting customer experience by increasing the response rate of gadgets used by users to access Target’s website. From Desai’s experience at Gap Inc., he realized that consumers were frustrated by slow operations of mobiles apps; a challenge he could relate to Target’s customers (Dina, 2018). Therefore, he instructed the team responsible for web maintenance to upgrade it to enable users to have a response to their searches without any delay. Furthermore, the searches were modified to provide specific results that also relates to a customer’s search history. Therefore, customers’ satisfaction regarding how to access or buy online products led to Target’s success.

Target’s shift from monitoring retail services to data analysis and improved customer experience are the leading forces behind its success. Under the supervision of Desai, the company witnessed tremendous changes such as proper utilization of users’ data and improvements to the organization’s website. Data analysis enabled Target to understand consumer preference and market trends leading to improved store sales, marketing of products, and supply chain management. On the other hand, an upgraded website promoted users’ access to Target’s web page (searches and purchase of online items).




Dina, G. (2018, November 28). On target: Rethinking the retail website. Harvard Business

School. Retrieved from