Target iPhone app answers shopper’s in-store needs with the additional of barcode feature


There is no doubt that consumer are becoming more empowered on the shopping front.  With the smartphone, shoppers are able to access a range of informational tools while in the store, in a specific category aisle, and when directly facing a brand or product on the store shelf.

Social media has led to community sourcing through product reviews, customer service reviews, and recommendations.  Online retailing has given shoppers the ability to price compare.  As a marketer, I understand that many decisions are still made when in the store.  No matter how many commercials or online advertisements she is exposed to or how many websites visited, the “moment of truth” lies in that shopping aisle when the shopper reaches out her hands to remove the branded product off of the store shelf and place into her shopping cart. This is not to exclude the other actions that are occurring: reviewing product labels, checking on pricing, reviewing past experiences and influencing by formed perceptions.

The retailer Target understands that shopping and in-store decision-making has changed as access to information is easily accessible in-store on the shopper’s own terms and peer influence is able to invade the in-store stage itself (before it was prominent in the pre-store and post-store experience).  Target has responded with a strong shopper iPhone application.  Recently, it added a new feature that hits to the heart of the decision at the aisle…that moment when a shopper is reviewing a product label, has the product in hand, and is a second away from putting it into her cart or back onto the shelf.  That feature is Target’s barcode scanning.  A shopper can use her iPhone (with the Target app) to scan any item.  This allows her to gain access to product reviews, information and ability of it within the store.

·         Have unanswered questions?  This iPhone app may have the additional product information that she needs to feel satisfied that this product will perform the function she needs fulfilled.

·         Will I have buyer’s remorse?  The product reviews exposing opinions from shoppers like her may soothe her hesitations; thus, nudge her towards placing it in her shopping cart.

·         How many are left within the store?  For big purchases, knowing there are 2 versus 20 can either speed up or slow down her decision-making process.

The biggest factor I believe the barcode feature addition provides is the ability to shop Target when at a different retailer.  UPC codes are universal; thus she is able to scan the code to gain Target’s price and stock information, as well as any current special deals.  She is able to garner value-added information providing a goodwill and helpful gesture by Target.  The app is able to affect the “moment of truth” at another retailer’s store shelf; it may influence her to return her cart, leave the store and shop at Target.

(Post by Anne Gibson)

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