Attention, Target shoppers: The days of popping into the beauty aisle for a $10 manicure performed by a robot are coming to an end. Target and Clockwork, the robots' parent company, confirm that the service will end at all stores - including three in Dallas-Fort Worth - February 20.
"Our robots at Target will be removed as we conclude a very successful pilot," says a spokesperson for Clockwork. "Our last day will be Monday, Feb 20, 2023. We have enjoyed working with the Target team, and thank all our customers for all the love and support they have shown us. We hope to be back to serve them soon."
Adds a Target representative, "At the end of February, Target and Clockwork will conclude a successful pilot that brought Clockwork manicures to select Target stores, an offering that drove new insights around our in-store experience. At this time, we are not expanding the service. We are always evaluating how to better meet our guests’ needs and will continue exploring ways to bring valuable services they will love to Target."
Launched in spring 2022, the Clockwork system was touted as the world's first fully autonomous nail-painting robot and has been offered at Dallas' Target Medallion (6464 E NW Hwy.), Target Fort Worth Central (301 Carroll St.) and Target Cityview (5700 Overton Ridge Blvd.).
DFW was the third test-market for Clockwork, behind cities in Minnesota and California. All stores are ending the service.
The Clockwork manicures, dubbed "minicures," are nail-painting sessions that take 10 minutes and cost $10.
You could sit down and have a manicure on a Target run for Diet Coke and Clorox Wipes.
Photo courtesy of Clockwork
To paint nails, the machines rely on cameras, data, and algorithms. Users place a digit on a finger rest and slide it into the machine, where two cameras rapidly take about 100 pictures of the nail. Those images are used to create a 3-D point cloud showing the shape of the nail, and this data is used to figure out where the edges of your nail are located. This information is then used by algorithms that figure out things such as how (and how fast) the machine’s polish-dispensing pipette should move to apply paint to your nail.
A human attendant stands by to help position hands correctly in the machine and to tidy up polish afterwards.
Although the robots are not as accurate as a real-life manicurists, they do provide a quick, cheap alternative for budget-minded consumers on the go.
In a February 13 email to customers, Clockwork says there are some new things in the works.
"We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that our next generation robot is ready to paint! The first of many next gen robots launched in San Francisco last week at in the LinkedIn building, with more locations to be announced soon," they write. "The most exciting change to our next gen robot is that it is fully autonomous. That’s right, it is now completely self serve, with live customer support available at the touch of a button. We hope to return to Target locations in the future, once our autonomous experience has been perfected for their store environment."
They will be rolling out the next gen robots throughout 2023, they say.
For now, there are still some appointments available through February 20 at all DFW stores. Those with unused service bundles can book their appointments and share discount codes with friends.
Those who are unable to use their bundles before they close should email customer support for a refund.