Speaking at the National Retail Federation’s NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, Target board chairman and CEO Brian Cornell outlined what he sees as the company’s greatest competitive advantage. Cornell also presented four tips he believes are key to future retail success.
“First, you must always start with the consumer in every decision you make,” he says. “You have to be willing to invest, in both the present business and tomorrow. And importantly, you have to be willing to reinvest—in stores, in digital, in technology and fulfillment and in your teams. You have to be willing to disrupt yourselves.”
Cornell says that in recent years, there have been many questions about the future of brick-and-mortar retail. He says the company realized that they couldn’t do retail like everyone else, which spurred Target to reimagine its physical stores and “make them work even harder.”
“Today, we consider our stores our single biggest competitive advantage. They function as service centers, fulfillment hubs and they’re incredible showrooms for inspiration,” he says.
Cornell also says his company is currently exploring new artificial intelligence and augmented reality opportunities to connect with customers, but says customer connection is at the heart of all retail businesses.
“There’s no substitute for that human connection,” he says. “We’re making industry-leading investments in wages and training to attract the very best talent and build a path for advancement.”