Target Corp is rolling out Cartwheel, a service that combines social networking and discounts, the latest attempt by a US retailer to lure shoppers into its physical stores rather than seeing them buy from online rivals.
Target said its new program relies on shoppers using their Facebook
accounts. However, shoppers can only redeem the offers they choose in Target’s US stores, not online.
With Cartwheel, shoppers select the deals they want online and then bring a barcode — either on paper or on a mobile phone — to a Target store to get the discounts. Shoppers can see what offers their Facebook friends have chosen, and earn more offers by having their Facebook friends sign up.
This service comes as traditional retailers try to keep shoppers buying from them rather than from Amazon.com Inc and other online-only retailers, especially as shoppers use their smartphones to compare prices.
Twenty percent of cellphone owners research products using their phones before they buy, and 18% of them compare prices on their phones before making a purchase, according to Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.
Cartwheel follows efforts such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc letting shoppers in some of its US stores scan their goods with their iPhones while they shop and then more quickly proceed through a self-checkout lane.
“It is very fascinating to see the very different approaches that retailers are taking to achieve the same goals,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of newmarketbuilders, a retail strategy firm.