Target Cartwheel- A New Spin on Saving Money

Target Cartwheel- A New Spin on Saving Money


With partnerships and techniques already in place to help consumers save money in Shopkick and Target’s Red Card, Target has come up with a brand new way to help you save money – Cartwheel. Not the acrobatic gymnastic maneuvers that are simple for some and difficult for others, but an iOS/Android app or website where you can find hundreds of discounts ranging from 5-30% off. On top of all this, these deals can be used multiple times until they expire and they can be used on top of other coupons and Target REDcard discounts.

Target’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones feels that when it comes to marketing “simple is better.”  “Simple to understand. Simple to execute.”

However, unlike the simplicity of Target’s REDcard program, the new Cartwheel app is not as simple as doing a cartwheel. While I personally like the app, the complexity of first getting the app and making an account is a large part in why the app has a 1.5 rating with 177 reviews submitted in the App Store. While some of the complaints are irrelevant with complaints that the app requires Facebook login, other’s are not so irrelevant. Many users complained of a connection problem which I personally experienced when I first used the app.

The fix? Instead of first trying to create your account through the mobile Cartwheel app, go to Target’s Cartwheel site and create an account by connecting with your Facebook. Doing so will fix the error you get when trying to create an account on the mobile app which is to check your network settings. Afterwards you can choose to continue using the Cartwheel site or logging in and using the mobile app. Both work fine since you can print out a barcode that contains all your discounts through the Cartwheel site.

Now let’s say you choose to use the app instead of the more simple website. You login to find yourself at a page similar to the one on the right. After clicking some items and adding it to your Cartwheel, you may stop and exclaim “Oh no, where’s the menu” or something along those lines if you are not a technologically savvy person. Unlike Target’s app, there is not a three line symbol on the top left symbolizing or allowing you to click on it to get a menu. There isn’t even a little tutorial in the beginning teaching you how to use it. Instead, you are thrown in to the pit to fend for yourself. Ok, maybe not a pit but you get it, you have to figure it out on your own.

Sure you have now added all the deals that first attracted your eye but how do you redeem them? To answer you question, swiping from left to right on iOS devices and most likely other similar touch screen devices at least allows you to bring up a menu that allows you to view your barcode, Cartwheel, browse other offers, or check badges that frankly nobody really cares about. Unless of course, badges come with an incentive. Super Scanner, Shopping Buddy, Woohoo… Woohoo it is. If you are an avid Target shopper and plan to use Cartwheel frequently it may disappoint you at first that you are limited to 10 spots at first. However, you can earn more spots by earning Cartwheel badges. So there is a use to those pesky things after all.

Your Cartwheel barcode basically contains all the discounts that you added in your Cartwheel. So if you had 10 offers on your Cartwheel, you are allowed to use all 10 of thos edeals at one time. All you have to do to redeem it is have a Target cashier scan it and maybe give you a funny look since even though it’s a Target app, many of their workers no nothing about it. In fact, if you want a really funny look, use your Target gift cards from ShopKick and this Cartwheel app all on your mobile phone to get everything for free (assuming you have enough in gift cards).

Returning back to the app, one has to wonder why wasn’t the Cartwheel app just implemented into the Target app or your Target mobile account. One of the main reasons for this is due to the fact that Target partnered with Facebook to create an app that is sure to take advantage of the power of social media.

When first creating an account the app asks for permission to post on your behalf and set the visibility of the app to friends, only me, etc. This brings us back to the complaints on app reviews on Facebook being the only way to create an account. Most people would not want their friends to know that they bought hand cream or whatever that may be too much information. The social media connection allows other’s to see who uses the Cartwheel app as well as everything that person adds to their Cartwheel, which may turn many people off. Fortunately for those who attempt to find a solution, the app does allow users to turn total savings to private by clicking on settings.

After all this, it is really questionable why a Chief Marketing Officer who focuses on keeping things simple, helped create an app that is not that simple. Sure the Cartwheel site and concept are simple but the app is far from simple. Simple would have been implementing it into Target’s app. However, since the app is in beta Target should get some slack for creating a mobile app full of problems. What consumers instead should be focusing on is the great saving opportunities available through the app.

While it isn’t beneficial to drive down to Target for a couple of dollars in savings, if you are already at Target, it is worth a try to look at items you planned to buy and use the search function to see if there is a discount associated with the item. From toys for kids to household necessities, Target has a wide range of discounts available through it’s mobile app or website. Additionally, since many people already redeem Target gift cards through Shopkick, what better way to save more than by combining those gift cards with potential deals on items that you may need or were planning to buy anyways!

Some FAQ questions to keep in mind:

What are the limitations?
Cartwheel essentially allows you to use the discounts like 20% off Fieldcrest Luxury Towels multiple times until they expire. However, you are limited to 6 Cartwheel barcode transactions per day. In other words, your Cartweel barcode can only be scanned 6 times. So if you found a awesome deal that you liked for let’s say 20% off Sensodyne Toothpaste and you wanted to buy 7 separate toothpastes to get paste the one Cartwheel offer per item, you would only be able to get the discount for 6 of them that day.

Can I stack other coupons with these offers? 
Yes. The order goes like this, Target coupons are deducted first, then Cartwheel savings are applied and afterwards, Manufacture coupons are applied.

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