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Target makes QR codes key driver in holiday efforts

Through the new initiative, customers are invited to scan the QR code on the in-store display, choose from the more than 20 new designs and send virtual gift cards to recipients. Last month, the retailer announced that it would place mobile bar codes on select products in-store to lets shoppers discreetly buy holiday gifts.

“Target has long been a leader in mobile gift cards – having a program that launched in early 2010 that allows guests to download and store gift cards on their mobile phones,” said Eddie Baeb, a spokesman for Target, Minneapolis, MN.

“Letting guests buy and send digital gift cards this holiday season is another way we’re using technology to enhance the shopping experience for our guests,” he said. “Our goal is to build shopping solutions that create a great experience for our guests, who we know love the convenience and fun of giving and receiving Target gift cards.”

Minneapolis-based Target serves guests at 1,781 stores across the United States and at

New technologies
This year, Target is surely ramping up its mobile holiday marketing strategy.

The retailer is offering consumers a selection of gift cards with holiday and multicultural designs, as well as digital options.

Additionally, the holiday gift cards have extra features including lights, sound and motion.

For the first time, the gift card displays in Target stores will offer guests the opportunity to send a digital gift card.

Consumers can send gift cards digitally to another phone or email address anytime from the company’s mobile application or Web site.

Furthermore, recipients of the gift cards, either physical or digital, can create a mobile gift card by saving the card’s bar code to their Target account.

To redeem the value, consumers can access the bar code using their smartphone and present it at the register at the point-of-sale.

Select holiday gift cards will also have a QR code on the back that links to an online game called Santa’s Sleigh Ride.

Continuous effort
Over the past few months, Target has been cementing its mobile bar code efforts.

Target is using mobile bar codes in-store to promote the season’s 20 most popular toys. By using the Target mobile application, consumers can scan the QR codes and buy the items.

Additionally, QR codes are featured in its direct mail catalogs that encourage consumers to shop the products right from the page.

“Target realizes the value of engaging consumers with mobile-optimized content that ultimately drive purchases,” said Mike Wehrs, president/CEO of ScanLife.

“In this campaign, QR codes make the process of purchasing a gift card simple and convenient – an ideal situation for the busy consumer who is in the store with their mobile phone and ready to make a purchase,” he said.

“Retailers can also serve up personalized information for shoppers in the store based on what they are scanning and interested in. Personalized deals, coupons and loyalty points can appear on the user’s mobile screen after scanning and ultimately help drive additional purchases.”

Final Take