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Target reveals mobile plans for holiday 2010 in exclusive interview

November 5, 2010

Target's iPhone app

Target's iPhone app

Well, it is that time of the year again and retailer Target has a lot planned in terms of how it is going to make life easier and more affordable for customers with mobile devices during the holidays.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Giselle Tsirulnik interviewed Molly Hanus Koenst, Minneapolis, MN, a spokeswoman for Target, regarding the company’s use of mobile during the holiday season. Here is what she said. 

How is Target using mobile marketing during the holidays (bar codes, rich-media, mobile site, SMS, banner ads, apps)?
Target Mobile is providing guests with the information they need to shop Target this holiday season. Target has the following platforms for shopping on the go:

 Mobile site (
• iPhone and Android applications
• Text alerts

Each platform includes these tools and features:

  Full Commerce Capability:  Target mobile has upgraded the shopping experience for a easier-than-ever way to purchase from the mobile device.

• Holiday Weekly Ads and Catalogs: Guests can access local Target Weekly Ad deals and catalogs in mobile-optimized environments that showcase the Target holiday branding.

 Holiday-themed Search and Browse: Under the main Christmas category, guests will easily find decorations, gift ideas for multiple age groups, and all other holiday-specific product groupings. Product pages include photos, features, ratings and reviews, availability and aisle location.

 Shopping Lists: Create and manage your holiday gift list on your phone.





 Store locator: Find the nearest store by city and state or ZIP code, includes address, phone number, map, directions, store hours and services. Updated regularly with holiday hours.

• Find it at a Target Store: Select a store to see current item availability and aisle location. Online availability also noted.

• Mobile Coupons:  Target is the first national retailer to offer a scannable mobile coupon program that allows guests to receive exclusive offers directly on their mobile phones. Coupons are redeemed by scanning a barcode on the phone at checkout.

Guests can opt-in to the program on their PC at, on their phone at or by texting COUPONS to 827438 (TARGET). Based on the success of mobile coupons, Target has recently doubled the number of mobile offers our guests receive each month.

• Daily Deals: Daily notification about  the newest products for Daily Deals via text message.

• Hot Holiday Items: Guests can be alerted when the hottest items of the season go on sale by signing up for email and text message alerts at

• Mobile GiftCards: Guests load any Target GiftCard on their internet-enabled phone—a great way to share GiftCards. Mobile GiftCards offer Target guests to save Target GiftCards to a mobile account and scan barcodes from the mobile screen at point-of-sale/check-out.

Mobile in Target’s Holiday Marketing Initiatives: Target has created mobile-optimized content to message Target-wide holiday marketing initiatives to take full advantage of mobile capabilities, including features like quick response codes and text messaging.

For example, both the Target storewide and toy catalogs will feature QR codes and text messaging prompts which allow guests easy access to further explore items of interest, including enhanced content like holiday decorating and fashion tips videos. 

What is different in the way Target is using the channel this year, compared to last?
The past year has led to many advancements to the Target mobile products. All Target mobile platforms were upgraded with the following features/tools:

• Bar-code scanning (including the ability to scan multiple bar codes at once)

• Mobile couponing

• Full commerce capability

• Marketing campaigns

• Highly-designed Weekly Ads

We’ve also forged key mobile partnerships. For example:
• Apple (iAD): Target values our partnership with Apple and their future-driven vision that allows us to use creative marketing tools to differentiate Target from competitors, which is why we were excited to partner to launch help launch iAd.

In the iAd app, the actual ad becomes a live application of its own and allows the user to stay within their app while engaging with the ad, even while watching a video, playing a game and other interactive media content.

This partnership brings motion and emotion to our mobile users and offer an innovative way for our guests to view Target.

What will mobile’s role be for Black Friday and Cyber Monday at Target?
Mobile as a Planning tools for in-store/online shopping: Two days before Black Friday, store-specific maps will be available on that guests can send to their mobile phone to help better navigate the store and quickly find the items on their list.

Thanksgiving Day Online-Only Sale:  We anticipate many guests will use mobile on Thanksgiving Day to prepare for Black Friday. Target guests will have access to Black Friday deals via their mobile device on Thanksgiving Day – offering a way to take advantage of this to get their must-have gifts off their list.

Mobile commerce: We anticipate more tech-savvy shoppers will purchase gifts on their mobile device this year. 

The recent upgrade of the mobile shopping experience, coupled with the rising amount of usage of mobile devices, will increase the amount of guests that turn to mobile to shop wherever and whenever they are inspired.

Are you expecting an increase in mobile commerce sales from last year?
As always, we expect this year’s holiday season to be highly competitive and promotional. Target focuses on having the gifts our guests want at a competitive price. We remain confident that Target will continue to provide excitement and value to our guests this holiday season.

With the new, service-oriented mobile commerce experience, we expect many guests to incorporate mobile into their holiday shopping.

Why is mobile included in Target’s multichannel marketing for the holidays?
Target aims to provide our guests with a multi-channel shopping experience that makes it easy for guests to do their holiday shopping anytime, anywhere, in a way that’s convenient – and fun – for them. Mobile shopping gives shoppers the freedom from the store constraints of location and hours.

How is Target preparing its mobile site for the spikes in traffic around the holidays?
Target has optimized our site so that our guests have a positive experience no matter the time of day or amount of traffic through the site. Proper content organization and research that helps to anticipate our guests behavior has allowed us to give guests a seamless, fast, and friendly shopping experience.

What role does mobile play in Target’s overall marketing strategy and how has mobile’s importance changed over the past year?
The Target mobile suite is a completely new and highly engaging shopping avenue that perfectly complements the Target store and

Target mobile is leading the industry in innovating an award-winning environment that combines the tactile impact of print and store campaigns with the convenience of online shopping.

Target’s mobile platforms feature strong product promotion capabilities and engaging Target branding – all while keeping guest service at its heart.

Target believes there are exciting opportunities to build stronger connections with our guests via the mobile channel, and it will continue to be an important component of our marketing outreach.

How does mobile help Target build brand awareness and awareness around products and services specifically for the holidays?
In addition to building brand awareness, promoting specific deals, and enhancing the convenience of the shopping experience, our mobile channel helps us to connect with current and prospective guests who prefer to research and purchase gifts online and who like to receive communication about the latest Target deals on their mobile phone.

Additionally, we strive to connect with current and prospective mobile guests in a way that’s reflective of their wants and needs.

Target is committed to creating an experience that is useful and relevant to mobile users at all ends of the mobile spectrum – from guests who are looking for basic, straightforward features to those who are well-versed in the capabilities of mobile devices and are looking for more advanced applications.

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

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