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Target Takes Another Step to Better Compete With Walmart and Amazon

June 9, 2017, 7:37 PM UTC

Target is making another move to catch up with Walmart online and fend off e-commerce juggernaut Amazon.

Target said on Thursday that it plans to consolidate its mobile apps to eliminate customer confusion over having to switch between apps for important tasks.

The move is part of Target’s $7 billion push to improve its e-commerce operations and stores over the next three years as it faces stiff competition from both online and bricks and mortar retailers. In 2016, Target’s online business only represented 5% of its total sales, well below the industry average of 10%.

In recent months, Target has started an overhaul of its tech strategy after some futuristic tests failed. For example, it recently announced that its big innovation project, the “Store of the Future,” which aimed to incorporate robots into stores and to test other innovations, would be shuttered.

Since 2013, Target has operated two separate apps for its mobile commerce efforts—a main app for shopping, and Cartwheel, an app that includes coupons and discounts for shoppers in physical stores and online. Cartwheel had gained momentum with 27 million users, but Sean Murphy, the company’s vice president of digital products, said that using two apps confused customers.

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To fix the problem, the retail giant is integrating Cartwheel’s discounts into the main Target app. The change is in line with Amazon and Walmart, both of which have individual apps that let shoppers buy items and access discounts and coupons.

According to TechCrunch, Target won’t shutter Cartwheel completely, but will slowly phase new and existing customers over to the one dedicated Target app.

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For the newly consolidated app, Target is adding a number of new features that it hopes will lift sales in its bricks and mortar stores. The Target app had already included maps of stores, but now it will recognize which ones customers are in so that it can show shoppers their location inside and highlight deals nearby.

As Target announced earlier this year, the app will also let members of its loyalty and credit card program, REDcard, pay for items in stores using their smartphones. However, the retailer did not reveal any other details about how this technology would work.