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The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Target is testing a new "Cartwheel Perks" customer loyalty program in select markets - San Diego, Denver, Houston and St. Louis - that rewards shoppers with 10 points for every dollar spent.

The story notes that the program "is part of the retailer’s 3-year-old Cartwheel mobile app," which "lets shoppers redeem coupon-like discounts with a single scan ... Downloaded more than 27 million times, Cartwheel is a deals-centric app that offers people hundreds of digital coupons that can be redeemed with a single mobile barcode scan at the register."

The Union-Tribune writes that "in a recently updated version of the app, users in test markets will find a Perks page that provides an overview of the new points-based program and lets them choose from different rewards — say a pair of sunglasses, workout gear or laundry detergent — when they accrue 5,000 points ... Though Target did not disclose its plan for rolling out Perks to other areas, the test represents a noticeable shift for Target, which has never offered a points-based rewards program outside of a small test in Raleigh-Durham. There, the company trialled a separate mobile application called Red Perks, but those users will eventually be transitioned to Cartwheel Perks."

For the moment, the program is only available to in-store shoppers, and not to online customers.
KC's View:
I think that if consumers see this program as being relevant and convenient, they'll use it ... but I also think it is counter-intuitive not to have it linked to online shopping behavior.

I believe in loyalty programs, mostly because it allows retailers to a) identify their most valuable and loyal shoppers, and b) demonstrate loyalty to those consumers. That's key ... loyalty programs aren't just about bribing shoppers already spending a lot of money with you, but also finding ways to prove to those shoppers that you are loyal to them.