Amazon has sued a former supply chain executive for accepting a similar role at Target. The lawsuit alleges Arthur Valdez cannot lead Target’s supply chain operations without referrencing confidential information he was exposed to at Amazon. Amazon is asking the court to enforce an 18-month time-out period, during which Amazon employees are not allowed to work at competing companies. Valdez was formerly Amazon’s VP of Operations and was appointed to Target’s EVP, Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer as of March 28.
Though Amazon is undeniably the leader in e-commerce fulfillment, Target is no stranger to digital and omnichannel improvements. The brand ranked 4th and Gifted in L2’s latest Digital IQ Index: Omnichannel, largely due to a handful of mobile, online, and delivery strategies that have made shopping easier for consumers.
For faster delivery, Target has partnered with Instacart and Google Express to allow shoppers to receive items from nearby stores on the same day and with a one-hour window. Not relying on third-party delivery apps, Target is piloting its own same-day Rush Delivery in select markets. For those who prefer to pick up at the store to avoid wait-times and fees, Target has partnered with the Curbside mobile app to provide more efficient curbside pickup in more than 100 stores. (The Curbside app uses geolocation to anticipate shoppers’ arrival, and notifies employees to prepare their order.)
Target also helps in-store shoppers find items and discounts with a mobile app that works in sync with beacon technology across 50 stores in the country. With this technology, the Target app delivers notifications about timely deals and recommendations relevant to nearby products. Users must opt into the notifications and geolocation for complete results. And Target Run integrates the notifications with social media; for example, a shopper might receive a notification if a nearby product is trending on Pinterest.
Despite Target paving its own path in digital, it competes with Amazon like other major Big Box stores. During the 2015 holiday season, for example, Target and Best Buy offered free shipping to attract new customers while Walmart kept its $50 free shipping threshold.