Target Launches Loyalty Program

Target is launching one of its biggest initiatives in years, with a new loyalty program called Target Circle.

The program, which the retailer has been testing for about 18 months in six markets, is scheduled to launch on Oct. 6.

Ads supporting the new offer are set to begin in October, a spokesperson tells Marketing Daily. “We’re planning a robust marketing campaign to spread the word about Target Circle, which includes TV, digital and social media advertising, as well as extensive interior and exterior store signing.” Ads are from Target Creative, its in-house team.

Circle will give shoppers back 1% on every Target sale, which they can redeem later, as well as access to personalized deals and perks, including a birthday discount of 5%. Those with an existing Target account on, RedCard or Cartwheel will automatically be enrolled for benefits.



There is no fee for membership, which can be accessed on the popular Cartwheel savings tool, renamed Target Circle offers. The Minneapolis-based chain says the intention is to combine all its money-saving benefits in a program “creating a more seamless, intuitive shopping experience.”

It also includes a cause-marketing twist, enabling members to vote for how they’d like Target to make donations at the community level, with the opportunity to support some 800 organizations. Target donates 5% of all its profits, much of it directed at the local level.

“We worked directly with guests to develop Target Circle, and the program includes the benefits and perks they told us were most important to them, from earning on every trip to having the opportunity to help Target make a positive impact in their local communities,” states Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief marketing and digital officer, in the announcement.

The program is meant to complement its RedCard program, offering perks and deals for those who may not want a new card. And RedCard holders continue to earn 5% off all purchases.

Industry observers are giving the initiative a thumbs-up so far. Circle “offers the points, discounts and cashback that entice consumers to initially enroll in the program, but the experiential benefits like the ability to pick a nonprofit for Target to donate to are what will drive that emotional loyalty long-term,” says Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Commerce, which specializes in loyalty programs. “Customers want to feel truly special and valued.”

In an email, he says its research has found that 70% of consumers now say it’s harder for brands to keep their loyalty. “Personalized perks like birthday discounts and opportunities to provide community feedback, add a level of exclusivity for repeat buyers.”

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