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Retail giant Target intensifies mobile-shopping effort

August 21, 2009

targetTarget Corp., the No. 2 mass merchandiser after Walmart Stores Inc., has made its debut on the iPhone with the launch of the Target Gift Finder application.

Users can search for gifts by personality, price, gender and age. The application allows users to buy any of the merchandise found on using their credit card.

“At Target, we are always looking at how we can leverage innovative technology, including mobile devices, to highlight our differentiated product assortment and emphasis on our low-price offerings,” said Jana O’Leary, spokeswoman for Target, Minneapolis, MN.

Target also has a mobile site where mobile users can browse and search products and locate the nearest Target store that has the merchandise they are looking for. The mobile site does not allow users to make purchases.

The mobile site and the iPhone application both give users access to product ratings and reviews.

To promote its Go International collections, Target leveraged text messaging to consumers on its mailing lists to inform them of new designers that are part of the limited-time-only fashion program coming or when favorites are leaving.

“We are continually looking for ways in which we can leverage mobile devices to offer guests shopping solutions that fit within their busy lives and budgets,” Ms. O’Leary said. “Leveraging mobile devices helps enhance anytime, anywhere shopping experiences at Target.”

Specific to iPhone users, they can go to iTunes on their computer or visit the App Store directly from iPhones and download the application, then sync up their phone.

After that, guests can go to the Gift Finder and select attributes, such as male/female and age. The user will see the gift idea and price.

From there, guests can save the idea to their favorites, which ties the gift to recipients in their contact list.

This isn’t the first time that a retailer has used the iPhone to push its gifting options.

Sam’s Club, a warehouse club chain owned by Walmart, has a Gifter Stress Lifter mobile application (see story).

That iPhone application was designed to find personalized ideas for friends, family or colleagues on the Sam’s Club member’s holiday shopping list. Consumers can make purchases through the application.

For its part, Target has run mobile campaigns in the past.

The mass merchandiser ran a banner ad campaign to promote its exclusive sale of Christina Aguilera’s new CD release.

For that effort, Target placed banner ads on, a new mobile blogosphere platform, to promote its exclusive sale of Christina Aguilera’s new CD release (see story).

In addition to the headers and footers, Target’s media buy with Snakk Media included a sponsorship and run of site, promoting the deluxe version of the pop diva’s “Keeps Getting Better: A Decade of Hits.”

A few weeks later, Target expanded this banner ad campaign with Pandora to promote its exclusive sale of Ms. Aguilera’s new CD release (see story).

Target’s media buy with mobile ad agency The Hyperfactory included banner ads on Pandora’s personalized radio service iPhone application that drove consumers to a branded mobile Web page with an offer of a free Christina Aguilera ringtone.

The goal was to promote the deluxe version of the pop diva’s “Keeps Getting Better: A Decade of Hits.”

Like many other retailers, including Ralph Lauren Corp. and Gap Inc., Target recognizes the value of an iPhone mobile application and the mobile-savvy audience it attracts.

“Partnering with Apple’s iPhone allows us to provide unique mobile-based solutions for the large number of our guests who use an iPhone,” Ms. O’Leary said.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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