Target is rolling out a new way to save – as long as you don’t mind pestering your Facebook friends with news about your savings.
The chain has introduced “Cartwheel“, a new website that links with Facebook to put a social spin on couponing. On its debut day today, the site features more than 600 offers – 200+ of them on grocery items. Each offer gives you a flat percentage off the item’s price in a Target store. The vast majority of offers give you a 5% discount, but there are a number of offers for 10%, 15%, up to 30% off some household items.
The good news – the offers can be combined with both manufacturer and Target store coupons, giving couponers the opportunity to enjoy a rare triple-stack. And if you pay with a Target card, you can make it a quadruple by knocking an additional 5% off your total.
You can use each Cartwheel offer on up to four items, so if you also have four coupons, you can really save. But Target printable coupons remain limited to “one coupon or offer per guest”. So your triple-stacking ability is limited if you want to use coupons and Cartwheel offers on more than one item. You’re also limited to loading ten offers at any one time, to start. Similar to Ibotta‘s recent introduction of “badges” that unlock extra earnings possibilities, the more you use Cartwheel, the more you can earn badges that give you more slots for additional offers – though you’re still limited to redeeming a maximum of six different Cartwheel offers per transaction. Once you’re ready to redeem them, you can either print out a bar-coded coupon that contains all of your offers, or call it up on your mobile device. Dedicated apps are also in the works.
So why is Target offering this new way to save? “Cartwheel bridges the in-store experience with social technology to help our guests discover and share personalized deals and inspiration with their friends,” Target multichannel president Casey Carl says in a news release. In other words, when you sign in with Facebook (and you must have a Facebook account to participate in Cartwheel), all of your Cartwheel activity is visible to your Facebook friends, unless you change your settings (thankfully, Target says, “certain types of offers” will not be shared – including “undergarments” and personal products like “feminine protection” and “digestive health” items. So if you want to get a deal on Depends without all your friends knowing, have at it). Target hopes friends will influence friends to shop there, by sharing the great deals they’re getting. “Target recognizes that shopping is an inherently social experience,” Facebook said in a statement.
There are other reasons. “Target sees the program as a way to extend the trips shoppers take into parts of the store they might normally skip, in order to pick up a promoted item,” Reuters reports. And some analysts see Cartwheel as an effort to get more shoppers into actual, physical Target stores, instead of shopping at online competitors. There’s a reason that Cartwheel offers are good only in stores for now, and not on Target’s own website.
Unless you’re not on Facebook, or don’t want to bother messing with your settings to prevent your good deals from clogging up your friends’ newsfeeds, there’s nothing not to like about Cartwheel – at least for now. Cartwheel provides an extra layer of savings that wasn’t there just yesterday, and no one’s forcing you to use it. As more retailers push their digital coupon programs lately, at the expense of their paper coupon policies, the Target triple-stack is a rare treat. But Target isn’t saying whether the digital coupon program might someday replace its printable coupon site. 5% off a grocery item that only costs a few bucks, will give you mere pennies in savings as compared to the higher-value printable Target coupons.
Though Cartwheel is available to everyone today, it’s still officially a beta site. “Guests are encouraged to provide feedback, as Target works to iron out any kinks and enhance the Cartwheel experience,” Target says. So go ahead and give it a try, and let Target know what you think. Target – and all of your Facebook friends – will be listening.