Target Lets Shoppers Use Mobile Phones To Redeem Gift Cards

TargetTarget Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount chain, is letting customers use mobile phones to redeem gift cards as more consumers use phones with Internet access. Target Mobile GiftCard allows users to retrieve gift-card barcodes online with their phones for scanning at checkout, the Minneapolis-based retailer said in a statement today. The technology, available in all 1,740 U.S. locations, means customers don’t need to carry their cards to the stores, the retailer said. It didn’t disclose costs for the program. “Mobility is a really important issue for retailers,” Paula Rosenblum, a managing partner at Miami-based Retail Systems Research, a retail technology research company, said in a telephone interview. It could be “detrimental” to retailers if they didn’t engage consumers who have phones with Web access, she said.

Retailers such as Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. and J.C. Penney Co., the third-largest U.S. department-store company, have tested mobile services, seeking to make it easier for customers to shop with them.

The 7-Eleven convenience-store chain enabled customers to text and receive a scannable barcode in December for a free drink at its 200 stores in San Diego. J.C. Penney, based in Plano, Texas, allowed customers to download its coupons onto their mobiles over the holiday season.

Target rose 23 cents to $49.53 in midmorning New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock jumped 40 percent last year. APP/Bloomberg

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