- "Cartwheel Perks" had awarded customers 10 points for every dollar spent at Target stores, excluding CVS pharmacy purchases and gift cards. Shoppers collecting 5,000 points were eligible to select from 25 rewards ranging in value from $10 to $20, including sunglasses, laundry detergent and athletic apparel.
- Last month the retailer said it's in the process of merging Cartwheel into its main Target mobile application.
Cartwheel has been well received by customers and analysts since its debut in 2013, and has been downloaded more than 27 million times. Target has been steadily testing and adding features including third-party coupons and the "Perks" points that are now ending. RSR Research analyst Nikki Baird last year highlighted Cartwheel as an example of a retailer finally figuring out how to provide the level of personalization and glean the kind of data that have been limited to digital sales.
“I think digital is teaching retailers how to be more targeted and personalized, but they still have to cross the chasm into stores,” she said in an email to Retail Dive. “Target’s Cartwheel is getting them closer, as an example.”
There are no details about why the pilot is being phased out rather than continued or expanded. Target Vice President of Digital Product Sean Murphy in June said that Target customers have collectively saved $1 billion through Cartwheel, and that merging it with the Target app is a matter of furthering convenience. "We’ve heard one thing loud and clear from guests: 'Keep making it easier,'" he wrote. "That’s why we’re moving Cartwheel, our popular savings app, into the main Target app this summer. That means guests will have one place where they can map out their store trips, snag great Cartwheel deals on in-store purchases, check out Target’s store and online assortments and, of course, make online purchases."
Target is also making moves to strengthen its REDcard loyalty program (members of which enjoy 5% off their purchases in stores or online and get free shipping with no minimum), including a payment app reserved for REDcard users. Earlier this year Target also said that it's planning a pilot program for REDcard users this summer in Minneapolis, which includes personalized shopping and next-day delivery of frequently-repurchased convenience items.
Earlier this year Target unveiled a series of initiatives designed to reverse the big box retailer’s same-store sales declines, including an investment of more than $2 billion of capital in 2017, and more than $7 billion over the next three years. The company is using about $1 billion of operating profits this year to improve brick-and-mortar and digital operations, according to a conference call transcript from Thomson Reuters StreetEvents.
The changes appear to be gaining some traction — the company last week boosted its second quarter guidance, based on a lift in traffic and same-store sales.