Target Rolls Out Bluetooth-Powered Shopping Cart GPS

Target shoppers will always be able to find their target now – at least, that’s the hope with the new and improved indoor mapping function available through the retailer’s mobile app. Target calls it the “GPS for your shopping cart,” reports TechCrunch, and it’s now live in around 800 of the company’s 1,800 U.S. stores. Target reportedly plans to roll out functionality to half its stores by the holiday season.

Its purpose is to help shoppers find their way to the products they’re looking for. Rather than a static map or a directory listing aisle numbers where products are located, the technology is actually precise enough to show the shopper’s location within the store on a dynamic map. Similar to the regular map function on smartphones – in, say, Google Maps or Apple Maps – the shopper’s location is indicated by a pulsing dot.

But unlike those map functions, Target isn’t triangulating location by receiving signals from a distant satellite. Good thing, too, since reception seems to be pretty poor inside many large retail locations such as Target’s. Instead, the merchant is using Bluetooth and beacon technology to support the feature – and those beacons are embedded in the retailer’s fancy new LED light fixtures, of all places.

Users will be able to tap an item on their shopping list within the Target app and the map will then show them where to find it. Aisle number and relevant sales will also be displayed, as well as any available “Cartwheel” deals nearby.

Leading up to the introduction of Target’s branded mobile payments, the Cartwheel app – which was actually more popular than Target’s primary mobile app – was merged into the main app. Now, users can visit the regular Target app to shop online and in-store and leverage the same digital couponing experience that saved them a total of $1 billion in deals last year.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.