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Target fuels mobile, social for biggest-ever digital push

Target is betting big on mobile as a key driver in the retailer’s holiday social marketing mix this year in addition to promoting mobile platforms as a way for consumers to save money.

The “My Kind of Holiday” campaign extends across mobile, radio, in-store, catalogs and social media, and Target claims that the campaign is the most digitally-driven campaign that the retailer has ever run. In addition to the mobile social integration, Target is also playing up its deal application and rolling out online features to help consumers shop during the busiest spending time of the year.

“We’re leveraging social and mobile to deliver relevant and engaging content and offers for Target guests throughout the holiday,” said Eddie Baeb, spokesman at Target, Minneapolis.

“And with our Target mobile app and Cartwheel, Target’s new digital savings program, we’re also focused on making mobile an even more useful tool for guests while they shop at Target stores,” he said.

Tis the season
In November, Target will roll out the hashtag #MyKindofHoliday on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook to engage with consumers.

According to Target, the campaign was developed to help share consumers’ holiday traditions and the ways that shoppers celebrate.

Target is also placing a bigger emphasis on its Cartwheel deal program this holiday season, which includes an iPhone and Android app that leverages a Facebook account to dole out personalized coupons and offers.

During the holidays, Cartwheel will offer special time-sensitive deals that range from 30 – 50 percent off of gifts.

A screenshot of the Cartwheel app

Ship-to-store grows
Target is the latest retailer to roll out ship-to-store to drive in-store traffic this holiday season.

When consumers go to checkout on Target’s mobile app, mobile site or Web site after Nov. 1, there will be a button next to select items that lets consumers choose to ship their order to a nearby store to pick it up.

After consumers place an order, they are sent an email or SMS when their items are ready to be picked up in-store.

Ship-to-store began rolling out in Target stores earlier this month and has since expanded to roughly two-thirds of all stores.

Ship-to-store has generated more buzz this year not only because of the costs that it saves consumers and retailers, but also because of the opportunity that mobile plays in elevating the in-store experience.

Target also updated its mobile app recently with more store-specific specials and offers, showing the critical role that mobile plays in the in-store experience plays for many big box retailers (see story).

Target is also extending its price match program for the second time this holiday to fight showrooming.

Consumers who buy something at Target but then find it cheaper elsewhere can return it between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21, which is longer than the typical week that consumers have to return an item.

Past efforts?
Mobile has played a growing role in Target’s holiday marketing in the past few years.

Last year, Target put a big emphasis on QR codes with a campaign letting consumers scan mobile bar codes in toy store aisles. The initiative also let consumers send and receive gift cards via scanning a QR code (see story).

Given the growth in mobile social platforms such as Vine and Instagram in the past year, it is no surprise that Target is choosing to marry the two mediums together to punch up its marketing.

“Mobile and digital are increasingly key to everything we do at Target, and that includes our #mykindofholiday campaign,” Mr. Baeb said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York