Target has announced that it will roll out its new loyalty program, Target Circle, nationwide on Oct. 6. The expansion of the loyalty program complements Target’s branded credit card, Redcard, which only a quarter of its customers use. It also replaces Cartwheel, a separate discount program, in an attempt to offer a “more seamless, intuitive shopping experience.” The new loyalty program is free. Target will begin automatically enrolling members that have Target.com and Redcard accounts. To use it, customers can swipe a barcode from the Target app or provide their phone number at checkout. Target tested its new loyalty program in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Indianapolis; Kansas City; and Phoenix over 18 months. Guest response has been overwhelmingly positive, with Target Circle members saving more and spending more than guests who are not enrolled in the program. To date, more than 2 million guests have enrolled in Target Circle and completed more than 14 million transactions.
"Our guests are at the center of everything we do, and we're always looking for ways to create even easier, more rewarding shopping experiences that give them another reason to choose Target," said Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief marketing and digital officer, Target. "We worked directly with guests to develop Target Circle, and the program includes the benefits and perks they told us were most important to them, from earning on every trip to having the opportunity to help Target make a positive impact in their local communities."
Total Retail's Take: Target joins several other retailers that have either expanded or revamped their loyalty programs in recent months. Macy's, Kohl's, J.Crew, and Nordstrom, for example, all launched new, expanded, or revamped loyalty programs over the past year. While I'm sure these retailers are putting more of a focus on loyalty programs now because they understand the perks encourage customer retention, they also give the companies a plethora of data about customers’ shopping habits. For example, if Target knows a shopper frequently buys diapers and baby products, it could leverage that insight to send an email to the customer offering a special deal on diapers. This could also be a win for consumers, depending on their feelings about privacy. But in today's day and age, most customers are OK with sharing data in exchange for better shopping experiences.