Target Sells Socially

Target has become the first mass merchant to utilize the Instagram Checkout e-commerce solution the social media platform launched in March 2019.

Shoppers can now make purchases directly through the Instagram mobile application when viewing updates on the @Target or @TargetStyle accounts. The Target account has 4.4 million followers and acts at the retailer's primary Instagram account while @TargetStyle has 2.2 million followers and is entirely devoted to apparel. Shoppable posts, which are marked with a shopping bag icon, allow shoppers to tap on a pictured product, choose a color and size if applicable, and check out without leaving the platform. They will need to enter a shipping address and payment information for their first transaction, but future purchases can be made with just two clicks.

“More and more guests are searching for digital shopping options, and we’re continuing to invest in experiences that allow them to get what they need from Target whenever, wherever and however they want,” Target senior vice president, digital Dawn Block said in a May 21 post on the retailer’s “A Bullseye View” blog. “We know our guests are already using Instagram, so we’re making it even easier for them to find and buy the quality, affordable products they expect from Target.”

The retailer introduced the new function with May 21 updates spotlighting slippers from private label Stars Above on @TargetStyle and home decor items from private labels Opalhouse, Threshold and Project 62 on @Target. Checkout has since been enabled on numerous updates on both accounts going back for months, spotlighting SKUs from private labels including Who What Wear and Up&Up as well as the retailer’s exclusive designer collaborations such as SUGARFIX by BaubleBar.

Although Instagram debuted the Checkout technology in beta more than a year ago, most of the users so far had been boutique brands like fashion houses with a few bigger names like Nike and Uniqlo also experimenting with the idea. Major retailers including Sam's Club have previously employed the "shopping on Instagram" tool that has been available since 2017 and takes shoppers from an Instagram post to an e-commerce page.

Target is hopping on the bandwagon as it experiences an enormous increase in demand for its e-commerce offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital comparable sales increased 141% in the first quarter of 2020 (ended May 2), spiking 282% in April.