Target gets app happy

Discussion
Oct 08, 2014

Target wants consumers to know it’s all over this mobile thing with plans to update and debut eight new apps for smartphones and tablets before the end of October.

"We view mobile as the new front door to Target," Jason Goldberger, senior vice president of Target.com and Mobile, said in a statement. "We’re launching a host of significant enhancements and updates to Target’s mobile offerings — making it easier than ever for guests to shop Target."

Target, as a Star Tribune article points out, has faced criticism in the past for lagging behind other retailers on the digital front. The company is pushing to change that image with mobile apps such as Cartwheel, which enables shoppers to gain additional discounts on purchases.

By the end of next year, roughly three-quarters of Target.com’s traffic will come from tablets and smartphones, according to Mr. Goldberger. The company believes mobile could represent a large upside to its online business since only two percent of its current total is generated using desktop or mobile devices.

Target app update

The new apps Target is launching include:

  • Target Healthful, which enables customers to manage their prescription drug needs; and,
  • Curbside, which enables customers at 10 stores in the San Francisco Bay area to order items and pick them up without having to enter the store.
  • A new gift registry app that includes a bar code scanner enabling customers to add items to a registry as they shop in Target’s stores.

Updates planned include the main Target apps for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. New improvements, according to the company, are in the works for navigation, search, lists and maps. The retailer, according to its company blog, A Bullseye View, claims the changes will be "a total game-changer" that "will completely revolutionize the way guests access Target’s latest and greatest."

Cartwheel will also be getting an update that features personalized recommendations and exclusive offers not available in the current version.

Is Target making the right moves with its mobile app initiatives? Where do you see opportunities and challenges for the company as it moves ahead with its digital agenda?

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15 Comments on "Target gets app happy"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

While mobile apps may be important, do I really need that many from one company? At best, I want one from Target.

Bob Phibbs
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

The words overkill come to mind. Why all of these features have to live in multiple apps seems to go counter to what I see with friends who are culling their list of apps, not looking to add more.

Kelly Tackett
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Planet Retail shopper data repeatedly have shown the importance of having a mobile presence and offer. In our latest survey of U.S. shoppers, we found that more than half of consumers already use their smartphones to shop and are using the devices for a wide array of tasks on the path to purchase.

Target’s moves are absolutely the right direction for the retailer. While superficially it doesn’t seem that their is much earth-shatteringly new in the technology, the new apps should piggyback on the momentum Target has around its Cartwheel program. Plus, I like that the registry app and Rx app are likely to drive traffic in stores.

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Using the buckshot marketing approach with apps that Target has chosen assures that they hit the “target” with the fast-changing, dreaded Millennials. Many mobile freaks have many apps that do similar things. They are not ready for integrated apps. There are many types of people that shop Target so let Target make many apps.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

For most people a tablet is all they need, not a computer. They write e-mails and text messages and surf the web. Computer sales are declining except for business use. Therefore Target is on track.

Bill Davis
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Mobile is absolutely the future and Target should have a good handle on where its traffic is coming from, but mobile apps have been more about research and information gathering than transactions as highlighted in the article.

“The company believes mobile could represent a large upside to its online business since only two percent of its current total is generated using desktop or mobile devices.”

My only suggestion would be to incorporate these capabilities into the core Target app as opposed to developing stand alone apps, as in my view there seems to be mobile app apathy and consumers do not have an infinite appetite for installing an unlimited number of apps.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
7 years 11 months ago

Target is probably right in making the tactical moves with its mobile app initiatives. But as Target moves forward with its overall strategy I trust it to correct some of its in-store problems, such as its inventory jigsaw puzzle.

Zel Bianco
Guest
7 years 11 months ago
I believe Target is making a smart move with creating apps that shoppers can use to purchase goods. The current digital era continues to advance as more and more people rely on technology for obtaining their needs. People today often have very busy schedules. It would be quicker and simpler for them to use a mobile app to search for items they need and order them through their phone, instead of driving to the store, finding their goods, and standing in a line to check out. I think it would be even more efficient than shopping online via a PC or laptop. Mobile apps enable consumers to shop on the go. The apps would also make it faster for people to navigate through products they’re considering, instead of walking through the aisles. Target Healthful will definitely make many lives easier as customers can manage their drug prescriptions anytime, anywhere. However, despite the fact that shopping on mobile devices would be appealing to consumers, the lack of integration of the apps can make it confusing and… Read more »
Ed Dunn
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Curbside is a Silicon Valley start-up and one of their clients is Target. Curbside set up a pop-up click-and-collect operation outside of a store where customers can order products on their mobile phones and drive to the Curbside canopy tent to receive their orders.

Chuck Palmer
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

I like the concept of mobile being the new front door. It makes good sense. This shouldn’t be taken too literally. While we all go in the same front door at our local store, we don’t all shop the same way. Multiple apps, while counterintuitive, make consumer-sense.

Operationally, each of these tap into different back room functions; behaviorally, each needs to be lean, focused and efficient. Some are about procurement — refill a prescription; some are about saving money and sharing pre-transaction data — Cartwheel.

Once widely used and adopted, Target will be able to further localize and personalize conversations. I’ll be interested to see how these apps enhance the in-store shopping experience.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Why does one retailer need so many apps? What is the big deal? Is the customer shopping or watching the app?

Shep Hyken
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Target gets it. They are going where there customers are. The traditional retailer needs to realize that the new tradition is physical and digital. Target assesses the situation perfectly when Jason Goldberger, senior VP said, “We view mobile as the new front door to Target.”

My only comment is that they may consider consolidating to one app that offers their choices — Healthful, Curbside, Registry, etc.

Larry Negrich
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

I think that Target’s going in the exact right direction with its mobile app strategy. These singularly-purposed apps are built to appeal to a specific segment of their customer base. Customer wants discounts: there’s an app. Customer wants CnC: there’s an app.

Modern consumers are not satisfied or happy when they are pushed to a portal-like app that has far too many features, screens, and rabbit holes. The strategy of offering a singularly-purposed app gives Target the ability to interact with the customer on the customer’s terms. Customers who want to interact with the retailer in multiple ways will download the apps that enable these interactions.

Kenneth Leung
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Surprised they would need multiple apps for one retailer. After all, screen real estate on my mobile device is valuable. Why would I want multiple apps from a single retailer?

Alexander Rink
Guest
7 years 10 months ago

Target is definitely making a step in the right direction, but I’m sensing a bit of overkill. Yes, a growing percentage of shoppers have taken to mobile, which Target needs to address. And yes, mobile is a great way to leverage that spending, but why launch multiple apps as opposed to just one app with all of its programs and offerings?

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