Retail giant, Target, is taking steps to improve its shopping experience and offer customers a more seamless experience. It has announced its plans to merge its Cartwheel savings app with the flagship Target app giving customers a single channel through which they can find in-store Cartwheel deals, map out their shopping trips, browse online and in-store inventory, make online purchases, and eventually pay in-store with their Target Red Card.
Prior to the move, Target was supporting two different apps. Cartwheel gives customers access to specific in-store deals. While their flagship app offers customers a way to browse products available online and in-store and make online purchases. The merger of the two apps also comes with some significant enhancements including the addition of a store map that shows customers their location within the store and pinpoints nearby Cartwheel deals as well as mobile payment capability.
According to Target, the improvements are a result of their focus on their customer’s needs, and their customer’s feedback to continue to make shopping easy. However, it’s important to note it may also be a strategic decision in the face of declining sales and stiff competition. Many retailers are making similar moves to streamline their shopping experiences. In 2015, Ebay consolidated its suite of shopping apps to focus on a single store app. And, other retailers including Walmart, CVS, and Kohls also operate streamlined apps that give customers access to mobile payments and savings opportunities in a single location.
Target has seen significant success with its Cartwheel app, with more than 27 million downloads. But if it doesn’t play its cards right with the merger of the two apps it could lose the traction it’s gained. Marketing and customer education will be key to getting customers engaged and exciteed about the app.
Efforts like Target’s to improve the shopping experience, bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping, and make check-out faster seem to be popping up all over the place. As the competition across the retail space becomes stiffer, especially with the continuous growth of the behemoth Amazon, stores are looking for every opportunity to make it easier for customers to pick them. While apps featuring coupons and mobile payment capability are a great start, retailers need to broaden their definition of seamless shopping and customer engagement. It’s not enough to just give customers easy access to shopping opportunities, retailers need to make customers feel invested in their brands. Connecting every aspect of the customer experience from the initial product research via reviews, to buying, customer service, and long-term retention efforts is key to building a customer experience that will keep customers around.