Will Facebook Help Target Drive Store Traffic?

Discussion
May 09, 2013

Target has rolled out Cartwheel, a program that enables Facebook users to get special offers that can be redeemed using their smartphones in the retailer’s stores, but not its website.

The program is among the latest attempts by retailers to leverage social media to drive actual sales. Interestingly, Target chose to have a separate page for Cartwheel rather than having it housed on the chain’s Facebook page.

"For Target, this is an important step for us to test new technologies and learn from our guests as we continue to bridge the gap between digital and our stores," Eric Hausman, a spokesperson for Target, told the Star Tribune.

Customers with the Cartwheel by Target app can download a barcode to their iPhone or Android phone and then tap the "redeem in store" button to have a QR code scanned at the checkout. There is also the option of printing the discount offer and having it scanned at the checkout.

Deals typically offer discounts in the range of 5 to 40 percent. Cartwheel users can earn additional offers by having friends on Facebook join.

"People like to talk about great deals," Mr. Hausman told the Star Tribune. "They also like seeing what other people are doing."

The Cartwheel page, which had 1,300 followers, offered 23 special deals for Mother’s Day, including 10 percent off Dove Chocolate, 20 percent off of greeting cards and 30 percent off Threshold picture frames.

What is your reaction to Cartwheel by Target? Do you see this as a good integration of Facebook capabilities and retailer marketing?

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15 Comments on "Will Facebook Help Target Drive Store Traffic?"


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David Livingston
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

In my opinion, its worth a try, but it sounds like another recycled loyalty gimmick. Discounts on overpriced items that are not on the shopping list will not get the consumer’s attention. To get the customer’s attention they need to offer a free cup of Starbucks coffee, or perhaps double the Red Card rebate to 10%. Customers want discounts on the things they want to buy, not what Target wants to sell.

David Biernbaum
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

Hmm, I think this Target initiative might help Facebook as much or more than it will benefit Target, itself. Facebook is looking to gain back some of its momentum with a young adult market, and that happens to be the same market that Target attracts. Good move for Facebook!

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

I understand Target’s desire to utilize mobile technologies to drive sales, but creating a separate app that is not linked to its website and not actionable on the Target website doesn’t make sense. Consumers want a seamless shopping experience; this does the opposite.

Target famously erred when it first launched its online store, after having been with Amazon. This mobile effort may prove to be a similar debacle.

J. Peter Deeb
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

My reaction is, what is taking retailers so long? This is a program worth trying to keep traffic and excitement in the bricks and mortar shopping experience. A savvy marketing job by Target!

Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

Cartwheel would certainly provide valuable information to vendors, who’d learn more about what products customers covet, and their preferred price points. Will customers love it, though?

Gene Detroyer
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

Let’s see…I am on my computer or smartphone. I check out Facebook. I see the Target deals.

So…why can’t I just order them there and then and have them tomorrow or the next day at my door?

Why, oh, why do I need to go to the store?

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

I have no idea why the company thinks this is going to “bridge the gap between digital and…stores.” Seems to me like it’s driving a bigger wedge between them.

It’s more like Target is hoping to get rid of print FSIs at some point and trade them in for digital coupons with a touch of social networking. It’s cheaper for the company.

Target has not demonstrated any synergies between channels to date, and actually thinking this creates a synergy actually puts an exclamation point on it.

I mean, it would be one thing if the coupons actually went into Passbook on the iPhone (actually they might…I haven’t got that far), but overall I think this is lame.

Giacinta Shidler
Guest
Giacinta Shidler
9 years 14 days ago

I think it sounds like a terrific idea to boost impulse purchases. Any customer out and about can check the app to see what deals are being offered. The consumer wants to take advantage of savings in whatever mode is convenient for them and clearly, consumers are demanding ever more functionality from their smartphones.

Robert DiPietro
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

I’m tired just reading about this. Why is it separate? It seems disjointed and not the customer experience I would expect from Target. I’m personally a heavy Target shopper, especially now that they added grocery, but I’m not sure I like this as a consumer. I’ll comment back after I use it.

Arthur Rosenberg
Guest
Arthur Rosenberg
9 years 14 days ago

There are still a lot of people who don’t own smartphones. Target may be alienating these consumers once they learn there are deals available that are not within their reach.

Shanmuga Sundara Raman M
Guest
Shanmuga Sundara Raman M
9 years 14 days ago

It’s clear that Target wants its customers to visit the stores rather than buy online. The chance of completing a purchase is more in-store than online.

Having a separate page, Cartwheel is useful for better understanding of the prospects (Target’s page is cluttered). It might be to test altogether different segments of people with offers.

Bill Clarke
Guest
9 years 14 days ago
The Facebook link is getting all the headlines, but I think it’s just a small part of the big picture. Plenty of companies force you to clutter up your Facebook timeline by liking or sharing a coupon or offer you’ve accepted, so the fact that Target is also doing it now is nothing new. Like Paula says, I wonder whether this represents more of a move away from paper and toward digital. Target.com already has a page devoted to printable coupons that can be used only in stores. But if it’s offering digital discounts now, will it eventually be looking to phase out the paper coupons and FSI’s altogether? Compared to the weekly ad and the printable coupon site, though, Cartwheel seems incredibly cluttered to me. And that’s on a desktop — I can’t even imagine trying to use it on a tiny smartphone screen. I have to scroll through hundreds of offers to find, for example, 5% off a Coke. How much is a Coke, a buck or two? So 5% off would be… Read more »
Lee Kent
Guest
9 years 14 days ago

First off, I went to the Facebook page and then had to go to the site..? Already more steps. The randomness of the items displayed was a mess and I couldn’t see any way to filter my search unless I searched on a particular product. That sort of defeats the purpose of an impulse buy. Know what I’m sayin’?

Then you pick the items you are interested in and send to your phone. Kind of clumsy to me.

Other than that, I do like the idea. It is a type of impulse buying app if you are planning a trip to Target. I love to see that Target is trying new things, but this one needs some serious tweaking. IMHO

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
9 years 14 days ago

Designing this as a standalone seems gimmicky and adds friction to the customer’s experience. It’s another app that people have to download and they probably won’t bother. Stronger integration with the Red card would better serve Target’s core shopper and, if they want a lot of Facebook shares, then they should expend the energy making their core Facebook page as compelling as possible.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
9 years 14 days ago

Well, I don’t have a smartphone! Do you mean that Target is discriminating against me? Are you telling me that Target is going to charge me more than other customers?

I don’t think this is a mistake that Walmart would make. Who gives any retailer the right to segregate shoppers for the intent of communicating lower pricing and other specials to them and not to me? I don’t care if they use any medium but it should be a medium that treats all fairly.

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