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Target is 2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year

Target Corp. has been named 2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year, the highest accolade in mobile commerce and retail.

While there were many worthy candidates, based on the nominations received from readers and submissions from this publication’s editorial team, Mobile Commerce Daily is convinced that Target serves as a role model for retailers for its outstanding use of mobile. Amazon took second place (see story) and Best Buy was third (see story) in the Mobile Retailer of the Year awareds.

“If there’s only one reason to name Target as 2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year, it is this: Target gets that retail is not about the channel, but about the customer experience,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

“Through its 360-degree use of mobile to support not only that medium but stores and online, Target has shown a level of maturity rare among the nation’s leading retailers,” he said. “Target’s mobile presence is making it easier to shop with the brand, and thus prepare the retailer for 21st century retailing and marketing.

“It scores on strategy, tactics, creative, execution, usability and consumer focus – all key requirements for mobile commerce and retail’s top prize.”

Target serves consumers at 1,752 stores in 49 states nationwide and at

The Mobile Retailer of the Year is the most prestigious honor for smart, strategic and creative use of the mobile medium. EBay Inc. won the honor in 2009.

Target shaped the mobile commerce and retail industries this year, serving as an exemplar to other retailers, financial institutions, banks and marketers transacting over mobile.

“Target Mobile is a set of tools that bring the Target experience to a cell phone or Web-enabled mobile device,” said Nathan Maehren, mobile channel manager at Target Mobile, Minneapolis. “Encompassing the mobile site, advanced applications and text alerts, this guest-facing channel supports shopping and services, in-store and on the go.

“Through first-to-market national solutions like gift registries, gift cards and coupons, Target continues to lead retail with mobile solutions that add value to our guests,” he said. “Target drives for mobile innovation through the development of powerful online and store shopping tools.

“New features are launched each quarter based on guest feedback and extensive research into emerging trends and technologies—features such as in-store product availability and aisle location make our guest experience unique and valuable.”

Here is a breakdown of Target’s work in the mobile space, and why it is mobile commerce top dog.

Targeting app users
Target recently became the first mass-discount retailer to make the shopkick mobile application available to its customers.

Users of the application can receive points and other rewards such as instant mobile coupons just for entering Target.

The location-based retail application is available in 242 stores in the Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco/Silicon Valley markets.

Target will make offers available via shopkick on a range of everyday items from food and cleaning supplies to specialty products such as electronics and toys.

Also, Target is the only current shopkick partner able to deliver scannable mobile coupons to guests for redemption at checkout.

Guests can redeem their Target GiftCards directly from the shopkick application by having a cashier scan the phone’s screen at point of sale.

Target has also taken its My TargetWeekly ad mobile, making it available via its mobile Web site, SMS program and iPhone, iPod touch and iPad applications.

Aimed at Target’s most digitally-savvy customers, the ads can be personalized based on preference.

The effort seeks to also reach consumers who do not have access to freestanding inserts and circulars in weekend newspapers.

My TargetWeekly combines elements of customization, social conversation, entertainment and mobility into consumers’ experiences with rich media integration.

Mobile consumers also can opt-in to have deals alerts and shopping lists sent to their phones via text message.

By viewing the ad, consumers can see coupons and Target’s top 10 deals and share their finds via Facebook and Twitter.

Target has created a smart recommendation engine for its My TargetWeekly ad from combining efforts with Facebook. The consumer can “love” an item to enable a smarter search engine.

IPad-ding its resume
Target is aiming to get consumers in-store by letting them flip through the company’s weekly ad and create a shopping list via an iPad application.

Users can search and browse products via the application, as well as find the closest Target location. The application is available as a free download in Apple’s App Store.

The Target application features a weekly ad that lets consumers flip through the pages to see the deals at their local store.

In addition, users can drag any item from the weekly ad or catalog and add it to their shopping list.

Consumers can expand the shopping list by adding their own custom items such as milk or eggs.

The application features catalogs that include the Explore Club Wedd, Target Baby and other seasonal catalogs.

Additionally, consumers can search and browse products from, see item details, add them to a list and buy from the Web site.

The left side of the application features Bullseye, Target’s iconic dog. His head bobbles with the flick of a finger.

Ramping up mobile for the holidays
Target Mobile is providing guests with the information they need to shop Target this holiday season.

Featuring full commerce capability, Target Mobile has upgraded the shopping experience for an easier-than-ever way to purchase from the mobile device.

Guests can access local Target Weekly Ad deals and catalogs in mobile-optimized environments that showcase the Target holiday branding.

Under the main Christmas category, consumers can find decorations, gift ideas for multiple age groups and all other holiday-specific product groupings.

Product pages include photos, features, ratings and reviews, availability and aisle location.

Consumers can create and manage their holiday gift list on your phone.

The store locator lets consumers use their handsets to find the nearest store by city and state or ZIP code, includes address, phone number, map, directions, store hours and services. It is updated regularly with holiday hours.

Users can select a store to see current item availability and aisle location. Online availability is also noted.

Target is the first national retailer to offer a scannable mobile coupon program that allows guests to receive exclusive offers directly on their mobile phones.

As with the shopkick initiative, coupons are redeemed by scanning a bar code on the phone at checkout.

Guests can opt-in to the program on their PC at, on their phone at or by texting the keyword COUPONS to the short code 827438 (TARGET).

Based on the success of mobile coupons, Target has recently doubled the number of mobile offers that its guests receive each month.

Opted-in consumers get daily notification about the newest products with Daily Deals via text message.

Guests can be alerted when the hottest items of the season go on sale by signing up for email and text-message alerts at

Consumers can load any Target GiftCard on their Internet-enabled phone—a great way to share GiftCards.

Mobile GiftCards offer Target guests a way to save Target GiftCards to a mobile account and scan bar codes from the mobile screen at point-of-sale/check-out.

Target has created mobile-optimized content to message Target-wide holiday marketing initiatives to take full advantage of mobile capabilities, including features such as quick-response codes and text messaging.

For example, both the Target storewide and toy catalogs will feature QR codes and text messaging prompts, which give consumers easy access to further explore items of interest, including enhanced content such as holiday decorating and fashion tips videos.

The past year has led to many advancements to the Target mobile products. All Target mobile platforms were upgraded with the following features/tools:

• Mobile couponing

• Full commerce capability

• Marketing campaigns

• Highly-designed Weekly Ads

“Target is the only national retailer equipped to scan bar codes from a mobile device screen at the register chain-wide,” Mr. Maehren said. “These bar codes are used for fulfillment on TargetLists, Target Baby and Club Wedd registries, Target Mobile GiftCards and mobile coupons.

“Target is also the first major retailer to offer guests a UPC bar code scanner in an iPhone app, making product research and building a list or registry even faster,” he said.

Target has also forged key mobile partnerships—for example, with Starbucks for its Starbucks Card Mobile loyalty and payments initiative and Apple for iAd campaigns.

Target said that it values its partnership with Apple and its future-driven vision that allows the retailer to use creative marketing tools to differentiate Target from competitors, which is why it was excited to partner to launch help launch iAd.

In the Target iAd campaign, the actual ad becomes a live application of its own and allows the user to stay within the application while engaging with the ad, even while watching a video, playing a game and other interactive media content.

“Target’s innovation in mobile has a notable influence on the industry and our guests,” Mr. Maehren said. “Guest participation exceeds industry trends, as does the feedback requesting mobilization of other key Target services.”

Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Target said that mobile will play a big role for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The retailer anticipates that many guests will use mobile on Thanksgiving Day to prepare for Black Friday.

Target guests will have access to Black Friday deals via their mobile device on Thanksgiving Day, offering a way to take advantage of this to get their must-have gifts off their list.

The retailer also anticipates that more tech-savvy shoppers will buy gifts on their mobile device this year.

The recent upgrade of the mobile shopping experience, coupled with the rising amount of usage of mobile devices, will increase the amount of guests that turn to mobile to shop wherever and whenever they are inspired.

Mobile is multichannel
To drive guest adoption and awareness, Target sponsors a wide variety of campaigns and initiatives that seamlessly blend all major media platforms.

Target’s channel marketing support includes guest education on the full site at, email and mobile display media, weekly circular and seasonal catalog placement, as well as in-store signage.

“Testing on new platforms like Apple’s iAd and shopkick augments Target’s overall mobile portfolio,” Mr. Maehren said. “Customized communication to over 350,000 team members is also critical to proper execution at the store level.

“Mobile is an essential channel for presenting products and services that make the most of the Target store and online shopping experience,” he said. “Whether a casual user or a mobile pro, Target is committed to creating useful tools for every guest.”

“Wet Seal, Target ramp up mobile LBS to drive customer acquisition, loyalty”

“Target aims to increase purchase intent via iPad app”

“Target reveals mobile plans for holiday 2010 in exclusive interview”

“Target expands mobile commerce presence with gift cards”

Final Take
Mickey Alam Khan is Editor in Chief of Mobile Commerce Daily