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Target speaks to multichannel mobile retail support strategy

May 18, 2010

targetFor retailers, multichannel mobile retail support means giving consumers choices in how to make the best of their shopping experience, whether it is via the mobile Web, applications or SMS.

With applications, the mobile Web and multichannel integration, mobile works when consumers can see a clear value proposition. The two key things to focus on are consistency in content and aesthetics.

“For Target, mobile isn’t merely a marketing channel; it’s also a service channel,” said Leah Guimond, spokeswoman at Target, Minneapolis. “In addition to promoting products, building brand awareness, and engaging guests with our brand, we view mobile as an important channel to help our guests make the most of their Target shopping experience.”

Multichannel tips
A mobile strategy should thread through all avenues of marketing that are existing already within a company and should not be a separate entity.

Mobile is an additional marketing channel threading though and linking to all existing channels, i.e., store signage, electronic media, print media, Internet and store associate training.

A 360-degree mobile strategy includes a clear and concise SMS/email campaign strategy with links through to a functional, brand-friendly mobile site that will be able to engage the customers in an action at the point of contact, according to Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.

Retailers should also consider an application strategy with a hybrid mobile Web site allowing the customer to transact while staying in the application and using the functionality of the more robust, transactional mobile Web that is essential to gaining customers through the SMS/email campaign strategies.

Addionally, it is key to use a proper URL for security, safety and ease of use for the customer.

Companies should not treat mobile as an added extra of their Internet strategy. The mobile Web should be thought of the same way as the PC Internet, not static, but just as important, with continual updates, coupons, deals and through-put to an action for sales. 

Right on target
Target understands the importance of having multichannel mobile retail support.

“We know that our guests are relying more and more on mobile devices, so we’re providing convenient, on-the-go mobile solutions for our guests,” Ms. Guimond said. “Target believes there are exciting opportunities for guests to connect with our brand via the mobile channel, including sharing marketing campaigns and services that can enhance our guests’ experience with Target and our brand.”

Target uses mobile capabilities in a number of ways.

Since 2005, Target has used text messaging in select advertising and marketing campaigns.

The company aims to be fresh and innovative, connecting with guests in a way that is reflective of their wants and needs.

Text messaging is layered into a campaign if it aligns with the overall strategy or adds an element of interest or surprise for guests.

In May 2008, Target launched its mobile site, where guests could view products, read reviews, check ratings, find the nearest store, browse the Weekly Ad and view latest marketing campaigns.

The retailer launched the Target iPhone application later that year, in November 2008. 

In 2009, Target extended the mobile offerings on its iPhone application and for mobile in general, just in time for the holiday season.

During the 2009 holiday season, the Target iPhone application ranked as high as No. 1 in the free lifestyle application download category.

Target tapped text messaging in its Target Ten campaign, which ran from July to August 2009.

Target Ten used print marketing to showcase fun, playful top-ten lists highlighting products found in Target stores.

Examples included ‘Ten Unofficial Products of U.S. Presidents,’ ‘Ten Good Things that Make Bad Mascots,’ ‘Ten Things that are a Total Oxymoron,’ and ‘Ten Super Trendy Celebrity Baby Names.’

Guests could then text the number listed in the print ads to have the specific top-ten list sent to their phone.

Currently, guests can sign up to receive a text alert or an email when the latest Weekly Ad is available for viewing on

They can also register to be notified when the newest products for Daily Deals are made available on the site.

To keep up with consumers’ increasing dependence on their mobile phones, Target began letting customers use their wireless devices as gift cards in February.

Target claims to be the first major retailer with the ability to scan mobile bar codes in all of its stores.

The retailer said this latest mobile program is consistent with its “Expect More. Pay Less” brand promise.

“Instead of focusing on one specific demographic, 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,” Ms. Guimond said.

“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,” she said.

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

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Related content: Target: Mobile is not merely a marketing medium, it is also a service channel, Target expands mobile commerce presence with gift cards, Target launches new mobile services for holidays, Target debuts first nationwide mobile bar code coupon program, EBay uses SMS to drive mobile commerce during holidays,

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