Updated Target app pinpoints merchandise in store

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“Where’s the doggone Sriracha sauce?”

This, in its infinite permutations, is a shopper’s eternal question, and Target this month is making it easier to get the answer.

An upgrade to its flagship iPhone app features an improved mapping function that pinpoints the locations of items users have added to their in-app shopping lists.

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Putting “milk” in the list area will add corresponding grocery-aisle information to the store map shown on the phone screen, for instance. Shoppers then use the map to navigate from pin to pin as they zero in on items and strike each off the list.

The feature works only when a shopper is inside a Target outlet; the app is aware of this via device-location “geofencing” that tells it when the handset’s owner has entered the facility.

Features such as product browsing and list building will work anywhere, however.

The new mapping features are permanent, but they will get a Black Friday twist to show holiday shoppers the locations of doorbuster items. App users will tap a button to highlight the Black Friday information.

The new features are iPhone-only, but an update to Target’s Android app is on the way, the retailer said.

Target had been experimenting with the new features in several dozen of its stores, but they should be fully operational in all 1,801 brick-and-mortar locations.

The Target app’s upgraded features come courtesy of a partnership with Point Inside, a Bellevue, Wash., technology company that set out in 2009 to exhaustively map such indoor facilities as the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Working directly with retailers constitutes the company’s second tech phase, said Pete Coleman, a Point inside executive vice president and the general manager for StoreMode, the system being deployed in Target stores.