Enjoy A New Online Experience At Target

You may or may not enjoy a new online experience at Target. They are rolling out with some A/B testing on their websites. For those that don’t know what A/B testing, I will quote Matt on it from his post on credit card testing:

As I mull over this compliance discrepancy, I wonder if perhaps the reason for compliance is to produce A/B Testing sources.  A/B Testing is the process of issuing two (or more) campaigns in tandem, with different offers to find which is most effective.  Sometimes this comes down to the font/color used in the campaign, but additionally it could come down to other factors… one I am thinking of here is the location of the offer.  Where is the customer, when they receive the offer?

Before we go further, if you think A/B testing is something that interests you, be sure to read this article on Wired. It’s how President Obama was so successful in his presidential campaigning.  Not a fan of reading? You can listen to it on Planet Money.

The New Experience

I love talking about retail and supply chain and this post will be along those lines. If you haven’t seen my OmniChannel post, you should check that out too. Back to this post, I was buying a few things online at Target for personal consumption (Krave Jerky in case you’re wondering, and it’s the best jerky I’ve ever had) and I was given their new website:




You will see the new site only if you’ve been to Target.com previously. The assumption is that you’ve been to the old Target site and are familiar with how to check out and find items. The new site is cleaner and simpler. Simpler, cleaner design is the new ‘it’ thing because anything difficult creates a bad user experience a la CardCash.

Let’s use the jerky as the example:


When you are on the product landing page, everything you need to make a buying decision is in front of you. If you scroll down wanting to see additional details, the side bar with the price remains ever present so you don’t have to scroll back to the top of the page to see the price again.



The new website is great, I rate it highly from a user experience. There’s a few things that I do not like about it, but that’s out of scope for this post.

The Fascinating Detail:

Shopping Cart Abandonment is an interesting concept. It’s when we are perusing a retailer’s website and logged in and add products into your shopping cart. For whatever reason, you decided you did not want to commit to the purchase. Apparently, over 60% of the shopping carts are abandoned. In order to realize the revenues, you need to send emails or some incentive to bring the customer back and complete the order!


There are plenty of vendors out there that use CheetahMail an enterprise solution from, can you believe it?, Experian, the credit rating agency for their email marketing efforts.

Personalized messages are more relevant

including the abandoned products in the content of an email can double open, click and transaction rates in comparison to generic abandoned-cart messages. Showing images of the abandoned products in the body of the email can optimize transaction and response rates through the use of dynamic content. The messages can be further optimized by the integration of items powered by recommendation engines to provide additional cross-sell opportunities.

Next time you see an email from your retailer, you might see pictures of the products you had in your cart. You can read more about the white paper from Experian on how best to design and execute the marketing. I did not realize it way back when, when I thought I was “gaming good customer service” from CVS. They were doing this since 2014! Want to read more on tips to execute a good email marketing campaign? You can read this article from Email Marketing Reports.

Cardpool Executes Shopping Cart Abandonment Wonderfully

I’ve mentioned this privately to a few people, but it only works once so I am publishing this. Some time in 2015, Cardpool deployed a shopping cart abandonment marketing campaign. If you add gift cards that you “thought” about purchasing, but never committed to buying, in about a day Cardpool will send you this:


After you exhaust the coupon with your account, all subsequent emails will look like this:




Now if you were selling cards, they also email you. I was running an integration test with iTunes cards and they sent me this:




Have fun with Cardpool!

Back To Target

In my previous company, there were reports of many people who saved a SKU into their wish list from 2013 and then when the product was rereleased in 2014, people were able to purchase the item. The funny thing was, say the item normally has a manufacturer’s suggest retail price (MSRP) of $600 and a shopper saved the item in the wishlist at the clearance price at $200 and when the SKU was rereleased in 2014 the customer was able to buy it at $200. We had to do a root cause analysis to figure out how they were able to get 67% off on a newly launched product and it was determined from a wishlist!

With that out of the way and you now understand shopping cart abandonment and other companies using it, I want to bring your attention to Target. In the new website they are displaying your cart number.



In the check out process, you will see your shopping cart number. Not sure what their plans are with it for showing it, possibly to aide the customer in case there’s an issue, but because it’s logged into a database, you can expect various marketing materials. They will analyze it and attempt to find patterns. Target’s marketing department is insane. In 2012 an article was published on the New York Times that they predicted a teenager’s pregnancy before her parents knew about it.

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

Wrapping Up

Play around with the retailers! You’ll be pleasantly surprised with their emails for extra savings when you ditch the cart. It may be creepy that they know so much about you, but if you’re reselling, you’ll just throw off their algorithms.

8 comments… add one
  • Good stuff! I got the new Target checkout once too. Much quicker and easier, especially for my most commonly purchased items.

  • Man, I hate it when they send the email reminder about completing the purchase from my cart. Most of the time, I’ve added something just to see the price (“add to cart to see price!”) when something is on sale and never bother to delete it. Once you’ve gotten into online arbitrage, you’re subscribed to enough email lists from retailers that those shopping cart emails just add to the pain of sorting through everything.

  • I LOVE that Krave jerky…

  • I shop at vitacost.com and I have found if I don’t check out immediately, I receive an email a day or two later with a 10% off coupon.


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