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Target’s Cartwheel on a roll with 7M-plus users, new features

Target’s Cartwheel has surpassed 7 million users and was recently updated with enhanced social features as the shopping application celebrates its one-year anniversary.

The app has proven to be a bigger success than expected and a much-needed one, at that, following Target’s massive data breach late last year that has kept away some shoppers. Key results for Cartwheel include that most users continue to use the app after their first redemption, with active users on average increasing their trips and spend at Target by nearly 30 percent, driving hundreds of millions of incremental sales from these households.

“Target’s latest version of Cartwheel includes a number of exciting new updates, including a fresh new look throughout the app,” said Antoine LaFromboise, public relations at Target, Minneapolis, MN.

“Additionally, a brand new My Cartwheel section includes features such as a Friends tab that shows how a user’s savings stacks up against their Facebook friends,” he said. “Also, a guest’s bar code and the scan-to-search feature, which allows a guest to scan a product’s UPC to check for any Cartwheel offers, are more prominent and easier to access.”

Incremental sales
The Cartwheel app, launched by Target earlier this year, links up with users’ Facebook profiles to make it easy to share deals with friends. Users can add discounts to their personalized Cartwheel bar code and scan it at checkout in store to receive discounts.

During a recent call with analysts to discuss its first quarter financial results, Target executive revealed that cumulative Cartwheel savings have surpassed $70 million, with the app having driven hundreds of millions of incremental sales from users.

Target has made a concerted effort to win back shoppers following last year’s data breach, with Cartwheel playing a prominent role in these efforts.  

For example, during the first quarter Target integrated the app into its weekly ad for the first, helping to drive a 33 percent increase in new Cartwheel users.

“[Cartwheel is] definitely a success given the stated results of ‘increasing their trips and spend by nearly 30 percent,’” said Paul Alvarez, vice president of sales and business development at Atimi Software, Vancouver, Canada.

“As reiterated at the Mcommerce Summit, the real opportunity for mobile in retail is to influence in-store purchases so Target is clearly achieving this,” he said.

“Also, from the Mcommerce Summit, the trend is that multi-channel shoppers spend more across all channels and are basically the most valuable customers a retailer has. Finding ways to engage them and deliver value will definitely provide meaningful ROI.”

My Cartwheel
To help continue the momentum behind Cartwheel, Target recently updated the app with enhanced social offerings, enabling users to share offers via email, text, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter directly from within the app.

Additionally, users can check out the My Cartwheel tab for new features. For Facebook users, the “Friends” tab adds to the enjoyment factor.

Other enhancements include the ability to add offers by tapping to expose the add button, eliminating the need to flip.

Users can also now find their bar code by tapping the smartphone icon or “My Barcode” in the menu.

Made to Matter
Following Target’s data breach, the retailer ramped up the intensity of promotions during the first quarter of 2014 to motivate consumers to comeback. Cartwheel played a role, here, too. In April, Target ran a Cartwheel offer to save an extra 10 percent on 42 of its biggest deals from the front and back of its weekly ad.

These efforts appear to be paying off for Target, with executives last week reporting that a recent survey shows that the vast majority of lapsed customers who had not visited since the data breach had come back for at least one visit by the end of the quarter.

To insure they keep coming back, Target is also focused on introducing new product lines designed to grab attention.

In March, Target launched Made to Matter hand-picked by Target, which brings together 16 natural organic and sustainable brands to showcase new products. Select products will be available at and on the retailer’s branded app. As new items are added throughout the year, Target will use Cartwheel to entice guests to try the new products.

“Social integration is significant, again these are a retailers most valued customers so giving them the ability to market for them is a great use as customers as your brand ambassadors,” Mr. Alvarez said. “And as we know, referral/recommendation from those in your personal network is more meaningful.

“In general, the challenge for a retailer is to provide value to their most valued customers and keep them coming back,” he said. “You rarely get a second chance to have your app become a regular and trusted part of a users routing and mobile experience, so the app has to deliver value, be easy to use, and keep customers coming back.

“Add a social component and the need to keep the experience positive for these influential customers is even more crucial. Bad news travels faster than good news.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York