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Target’s savings app Cartwheel now lets you clip real coupons

TechCrunch TechCrunch 4/04/2016 Sarah Perez

Target’s top-rated shopping app Cartwheel is today becoming more useful to those who are looking to save money at checkout. The company says the app has been expanded to support digital coupons from manufacturers – meaning shoppers can save dollars on a wider range of products, as opposed to percentage discounts off select products, as before.

Cartwheel, of course, was already a mobile savings app before this change. But, previously, the app was focused on providing customers with discounts on items, including Target’s own product lines like Archer Farms and up & up. In terms of savings, these percentage off deals would often only add up to a couple of dollars at most on a Target run for everyday shoppers.

With the new addition, consumer can clip “real” digital coupons – in many cases, the same as those that can be found in the local Sunday newspaper. That means there’s an increased potential for saving real money on items, including groceries, as manufacturer coupons can often offer larger discounts, like $.50 off or even a few dollars, per deal. Meanwhile, a lot of Target’s discounts on everyday items like milk and paper towels only clock in at 5 percent.

The company says it’s now testing this new service, which is made possible through a partnership with a third-party provider of digital coupons. That is, the app is integrated with a coupon database as opposed to Target working with manufacturers directly to source deals. At launch, there around 40-some digital coupons of this nature available in the app, but that number will change and vary, we’re told.

Target quietly began testing these coupons last month, but has only today made a formal announcement about their availability.

Offering shoppers more ways to save is seen as a competitive advantage for brick-and-mortar retailers and grocers, and is something that many do through their own dedicated applications, including rivals like Walmart, Whole Foods, Costco, and many other chains. For Target, too, the move is about catering to a very specific demographic: savers. Its Cartwheel application is today used by millions, the retailer says, who have saved over $475 million since its launch in 2013.

While Cartwheel’s main purpose is savings, the app is one of the more innovative products in the mobile commerce space today, thanks to Target’s technology focus. For example, the company previously rolled out in-store beacons which communicate recommendations and specials through the app to shoppers. And it’s been rumored that Target is working on a mobile wallet, too.

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