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Target pins e-commerce hopes on tech dream team

May 28, 2014, 11:02 PM UTC
Inside A Target Retail Store Along With Target's Executive VP Of Property Development John Griffith
The Target Corp. logo is seen on a shopping cart at a store under construction in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount retailer, raised its full-year earnings forecast after warm weather helped drive sales in the first quarter. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FORTUNE — Target  has created a digital advisory council made up of four outside tech leaders with one goal: to shorten the time it will take for the discount chain to catch up to the competition in the e-commerce wars.

Target (TGT), still facing a consumer backlash after the biggest data breach ever against a retailer last year, has been far slower than rivals like Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Macy’s (M) to embrace e-commerce, depriving it of the brightest spot in the retail landscape.

The company doesn’t break out online sales, but analysts estimate it makes up less than 2% of sales. In contrast, Wal-Mart e-commerce last year hit the $10 billion mark, or just under 4% of U.S. sales. And Wal-Mart’s web sales grew 27% in the first quarter of the current year.

Retailers have invested heavily in the last few years to integrate their store operations and their e-commerce to facilitate what the industry calls “omni-channel” shopping. That, for instance, allows retailers to fill an online order from inventory in stores to speed up delivery, or give customers options such as the ability to reserve items online and pick them up in store. It has been a boon for everyone from Macy’s to Wal-Mart to Best Buy.  Now Target wants a bigger piece of the pie.

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The first members of Target’s digital council will be: Ajay Agarwal, a managing director at venture capital firm Bain Capital Ventures; Amy Chang, CEO of Accompany and previous head of Google Analytics; Roger Liew, technology chief at travel site Orbitz Worldwide, and Sam Yagan, CEO of dating site operator Match Group and founder of OkCupid.

The group will meet quarterly with Casey Carl, the Target executive overseeing omni-channel operations. “We want to go faster,” Carl said in a statement.

The creation of the council comes on the heels of Target naming a new CIO to oversee its technology and cybersecurity.

Target’s failure to prevent the breach, which cost Gregg Steinhafel his job as CEO this month, earned it the scorn of proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, which urged to shareholders to vote against 7 out of 10 of Target’s board nominees, and to vote in favor of separating the CEO and Chairman jobs. CFO John Mulligan currently serves as interim CEO and president.

“It appears that failure of the committees to ensure appropriate management of these risks set the stage for the data breach, which has resulted in significant losses to the company and its shareholders,” said ISS, which advises large investors on how to vote on corporate issues. Target’s annual shareholder meeting takes place June 11.

Hackers got access to about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records of customer details late last year.