Target Turns to Facebook Promotions for In-Store Purchases

A brick and mortar retail chain tries to stay relevant by offering social media deals.

shopping at Target
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Starting today, Target (TGT) is rolling out a program that will let shoppers use their Facebook (FB) accounts to get and redeem special offers. And unlike most social media offers, this one is good only for in-store purchases.

The service is dubbed Cartwheel. The company hopes it will make shoppers spin away from Amazon (AMZN) and other online retailers.

This is the latest effort by chain stores to fight the growing problem of showrooming. That's when customers go into stores to check out, pick up, and maybe try on items, before going back home and buying them for less on Amazon or other online retailers.

Earlier this year, Target and Best Buy (BBY) said they would match prices at online retailers at all times, not just during seasonal promotions.

Best Buy is also in the process of opening Samsung (SSNLF) boutiques within its stores. Last year, the company estimated that up to 40 percent of the shoppers in its stores had no intention of buying anything.

Walmart (WMT) lets shoppers at some of its stores use their smartphones to scan goods in order to pay more quickly. And customers at Sears (SHLD) and Kmart can get personalized shopping advice from in-store workers, without ever walking into the store.

A study earlier this year by Placed, a mobile analytics firm, found that showroomers especially liked browsing at Bed Bath and Beyond, PetSmart (PETM) and Toys 'R' Us.

As for Target, its new Cartwheel service will be advertised on the company's website, on Facebook and through emails to Target card holders and its best customers.

Target will also introduce a new app next month allowing shoppers to scan the barcode on an in-store item to see if there are any discounts available to them. Discounts will range from five percent to 40 percent and will differ from offers that are advertised in the company's weekly mailers.