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Target ramps up mobile for personalized holiday experiences

Target has announced a revamped mobile strategy just in time for the holiday shopping season that includes two-step checkout, a standalone pharmacy application and in-store iPads for gift registries.

With the retailer seeing high volumes of traffic on its mobile site, Target aims to cater to its target audience on mobile and offer easier payment and search methods. The brand is also seeking to further personalize the guest experience, both online and in-store.

“Mobile is the front door of Target,” said Jason Goldberger, senior vice president, and mobile, Minneapolis, MN. “Today, mobile is nearly two-thirds of our digital traffic and it is quickly on the way to becoming three-fourths.

“We are very much leading with mobile.”

New apps
Continuing its bid to establish itself as an omnichannel retailer, Target is especially marketing to the millennial demographic and is using data from bricks-and-mortar stores and online in order to roll out what it hopes are attractive features.

This has led to Target overhauling its iPad and iPhone apps, which now include streamlined homepages and a two-taps-to-checkout process set to go live in late October. Target aims to set a foundation in order to offer more personalization in the coming year, such as recommended items based on products a guest has viewed or bought.

The two-step checkout process incorporates Target’s reduced shipping duration for product orders. It now has 140 stores equipped to ship immediately, and 91 percent of the United States population will be able to receive one-day shipping, with 97 percent able to receive two-day shipping.

The retailer is also introducing the Target Healthful app, its first-ever standalone pharmacy app that offers easy refills, prescription transfers and notifications for taking dosages. Multiple people can be added to one account, making it simple for families to manage medications.

Consumers who refill prescriptions five times with the app will receive a reward of a five percent discount to use at Target during a shopping day.

“We increasingly want to differentiate each experience for the digital platform,” Mr. Goldberger said. “We want guests to get the right content at the right time on the right device.”

The mobile site has also been updated and features easier search options, a streamlined cartwheel of product photos and more product information than its predecessor offered. The new mobile site is live on Oct. 7.

Mobile enhancements
Target is also seeking to establish closer connections with social media outlets. Users on Instagram who post Target outfits or accessories with a #TargetStyle hashtag may receive a message from the brand asking for permission to use it on its Instagram feed on the mobile and Web sites.

Consumers who browse those Instagram photos will see links to the products pictured, and will be able to purchase them using the streamlined checkout process. Target is currently seeing approximately 2,000 photos tagged weekly, and selects about 30 percent of those to post on the site.

The retailer is also going mobile in the gift registry sector, particularly to appeal to millennials getting married or having children.

“We’ve always had one of the largest registries in the country, and we wanted to redesign registry around mobile,” Mr. Goldberger said.

Stores will have iPad kiosks starting in November for customers looking to create registries and individuals looking to purchase gifts. Consumers can also download a mobile app specifically for making a registry that allows them add products from online-only inventory and take photos of in-store products if the individual elects not to use a Target scanner.

While the brand is using a test-and-learn method for its new strategy, it believes that it is making strides in e-commerce, and that consumers will certainly benefit from easily accessible information, products and payment systems.

“What you’ll see today from Target is enormous progress and strong momentum,” Mr. Goldberger said. “We’ve put a lot of energy into this, and this has been a big growth period.”

“We want each guest to have an individualized experience,” he said. “I personally believe that Target is uniquely positioned to win.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York