Target has introduced a mobile wallet capability in the Target app for REDcard users, a move coming a little over two months after the retailer said such a capability was in the works, according to a Target blog.
The new feature, simply called Wallet, allows users to pay for items at Target stores by scanning their phones at checkout. According to the company, the feature will also allow customers to keep Cartwheel offers, Weekly Ad coupons and payment options in the same app.
The retailer said the Wallet feature will eventually support the ability to store and redeem Target GiftCards. The feature is now available for both the iOS and Android versions of the Target app.
Target announced a number of new mobile app features back in September, and said this one was on the way. The timing of the launch, in the middle of the holiday season, couldn't be better — well, unless you're already done with your gift shopping. Either way, the launch leaves plenty of opportunities for customers to try the app out, especially at a time when customers are frequently out shopping, and trying to get out of stores as quickly as possible.
Target's decision to join the mobile wallet club is a good one, albeit a little later than some others. While there are already a lot of companies out there — mobile device firms, retailers and others — with mobile wallet capabilities, mobile payment adoption is still in a very early stage of its evolution, giving Target a leg up over smaller retailers.
Retailers such as Walmart, CVS and Starbucks launched their mobile wallet entries well before Target did, but the retailer is making similar arguments to try and woo shoppers to pay via mobile: Enjoy quicker checkout than paying via other methods, and combine mobile pay capabilities with rewards and deal offers.
For retailers, that basic line of argument could be enough. For example, Walmart Pay has already been projected by Crone Consulting to overtake market leader Apple Pay in mobile payments usage by the end of next year. Target may have a ways to go to catch up to Walmart in this arena, but mobile wallets for the most part are not tools for beating up the retail competition. There's a lot of potential upside in terms of increasing customer loyalty, and very little downside.
The mobile payments market could come to be dominated by big-name retailers, though market share in this segment may not be as important to them as longer-term goals of using mobile wallets to extend their brand value and strengthen their bonds with shoppers that have been using other companies' payment methods for years.