ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Target’s mobile holiday game gives glimpse into future of retail

Target is providing a glimpse into the future of retail with a new mobile gaming offering, available in select stores and executed by Google, that bridges the retailer’s physical and digital offerings.

Bullseye’s Playground, also available for smartphone users while not in stores, will host a variety of winter games, such as sledding and ice fishing. When users play the available games, Target donates $1 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We’re pushing the boundaries of digital and mobile technologies in working with a partner like Google as we explore how the digital and physical worlds can be brought together to create fun and memorable experiences for guests,” said Eddie Baeb, spokesperson at Target, Minneapolis. “Target partnered with Google’s Art, Copy and Code team because we wanted to create an immersive mobile experience that would make shopping Target more fun this holiday season for the whole family.”

Combining physical, digital
Using Google’s new Project Tango Development Tablet, playing the mobile game while in participating stores will transform them into 3D winter playgrounds.

Through the solution, Target hopes to provide guests a glimpse into the future of retail, which includes the blend of physical and digital spaces.

To access the experience, users can go to on their mobile devices to play six interactive games, including sledding, ice fishing, snowball fights and more. In-store signage will prompt customers to play and discover special codes throughout the store to unlock characters and new game levels.

For every game played, Target is donating $1 to St. Jude, up to $1 million.

When in stores, users can use the Google Tablet to see 3D, interactive changes as they walk through the stores. Within the experience, customers can interact with characters such as Bullseye and Zoomer Dino while discovering virtual activities, such as snowball fights or playing a xylophone made out of icicles.

The experience is only available at select stores and at certain times. Target locations in Sunnyvale, CA., and Chicago will provide the experience starting today until Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

From Dec. 11 to Dec. 14, Targets in Dallas and Roseville, MN., will host the experience from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Pushing forward
Target is one of the larger retailers continuing toward mobile innovation to remain a leader in its industry.

In fact, the retailer recently charged back at Amazon with its own offering of an image recognition app, hoping to take back control of showrooming activity while providing shoppers with the kind of mobile-enabled omnichannel shopping experiences they want.

Target tested an image recognition mobile application to provide instant access – including purchasing capabilities – to products appearing in print ads, catalogs and on in-store signage. The In a Snap app launched in July and played a key role in the retailer’s back-to-school marketing campaign, with the app featured in ads for Target’s Room Essentials brand that appeared in print magazines such as RealSimple, Architectural Digest, Domino and others (see story).

Earlier this year, Target bet on branded mobile games to not only snag a group of devout consumers that are known for coming back repeatedly, but also to drive in-store traffic through time-sensitive coupons.

The big box retailer launched a mobile game with Purina as the first of roughly a half dozen games it planned to launch this year as part of bigger campaigns that work closely with brands. The game was part of a mobile program that Target rolled out and incorporated QR codes, mobile Web and SMS in addition to the actual games (see story).

“With Bullseye’s Playground, we’re offering a fun, interactive experience for Target guests, who we know are using mobile more and more for their shopping,” Mr. Baeb said. “We hope our guests will love the experience.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York