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Target’s New App Steers You to the Right Aisle for Black Friday

Taking on mobile mapping

Even with the e-commerce boom, shopping at brick-and-mortar stores will continue to rule this holiday season. But with more shoppers using smartphones to compare prices, Target is one of several major retailers tackling this trend of "showrooming" head-on with a new, souped-up mobile app.

Today, the Minneapolis-based chain unveils an app that uses location-based technology, powered by Point Inside, to link products with store maps. The user builds a shopping list or uses a search bar to find products, then the aisle where a product is located is revealed.

"Clearly, we think it's a big step toward making it that much easier to get in and out of the store to find what you're looking for," said Target rep Eddie Baeb.

On Black Friday, the app will serve up information on door-buster deals at individual Target locations.

The app is the retailer's latest attempt to blur the line between online and physical stores. It was one of the first to start using Apple Pay this year, and last week it acquired Powered Analytics, a startup that specializes in shopping software.

Baeb declined to say how Target would use Powered Analytics' technology. But Sheryl Kingstone, research director at 451 Research, pointed out that its analytics software could become Target's greatest weapon against Amazon.

"Whether it be inventory stocks, turn-by-turn navigation, mobile coupons or a reward, a lot of that is absolutely critical [for retailers]," she said. "But what's even more critical is gathering the information to use analytic tools."

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