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Target debuts points-based rewards program, adding more capabilities to Cartwheel

Target is currently piloting a new division of its Cartwheel mobile loyalty program that enables shoppers to earn 10 points for each dollar spent in-store and choose from a variety of rewards once they hit a specific threshold.

The mass-market retailer is revamping its Cartwheel loyalty app to include a bigger focus on points-based rewards. Shoppers in select pilot cities – San Diego, St. Louis, Houston and Denver – are now able to leverage Cartwheel Perks and earn 10 points per dollar spent in-stores, giving them more incentive to buy additional and higher-priced items.

“We think Perks will appeal both to Cartwheel users and non-users, with rewards offered on every Target purchase,” said Eddie Baeb, spokesman for Target.

“We’ve seamlessly integrated Perks into the Cartwheel experience. Guests can continue to use Cartwheel for savings as they do today — all with the ease of one bar code scan at checkout.”

Wheeling up extra rewards
The Cartwheel Perks program is currently being piloted in the St. Louis, Denver, San Diego and Houston markets.

Target’s Cartwheel app allows users to virtually clip mobile coupons and apply eligible discounts in-store by scanning a product’s bar code. Completing that action will add the savings directly to the user’s total.

Perks takes a more points-based approach to mobile loyalty. The program offers customers 10 points for every dollar they spend at a Target store.

To receive Perks points, shoppers can simply scan their Cartwheel bar code at checkout.

Consumers in Perks’ pilot cities can access an updated version of the Cartwheel app. This includes an introductory page for the Perks program that highlights key facts and enables users to pick from a slew of rewards once they hit 5,000 rewards points.

Available rewards – which range in price from $10 to $20 – include products such as sunglasses, athletic apparel and laundry detergent.

Cartwheel has amassed a steady following of Target fans since its initial rollout in 2013, making it the ideal platform on which to launch the Perks program. It has seen more than 27 million signups.

Bargain hunters can still take advantage of Cartwheel’s in-app clippings and savings – with the added bonus of accumulating rewards points for every purchase.

The retailer has been making steady updates to the Cartwheel app, likely in a bid to fend off competition from third-party couponing apps, such as Ibotta and RetailMeNot, as well as reach more consumers with its in-circular deals.

Earlier this summer, Target made the in-store shopping experience easier and faster for customers using the Cartwheel application via an update that included a store map highlighting products with coupons available as well as store-specific deals (see story).

Mobile shopping cart focus
Target has streamlined its sales-driving initiatives by highlighting the slew of mobile-first options that consumers can take advantage of when they are short on time.

While Target’s recent decision to end a pilot with mobile app Curbside underscored a focus on driving in-store sales, the retailer remained committed to mobile, having recently merged its mobile and desktop Web sites for a more consistent experience (see story).

The brand also forayed into beacon technology, showcasing its desire to reach in-store shoppers with more personalized content and deals.

Last summer, Target jumped to the head of the class for in-store beacon marketing with a new program in 50 stores that leveraged the retailer’s app to alert shoppers to hyperlocal content accessible via a newsfeed-like stream (see story).

However, Target’s Perks pilot is its most readily accessible loyalty-based program yet.

“We’re excited to see how guests respond to the pilot, and look forward to adjusting and enhancing the experience based on guest feedback,” Mr. Baeb said.