- Target now lets Instagram users buy products directly from the photo-sharing app amid an expansion in its e-commerce efforts. The retail chain's @Target and @TargetStyle accounts on Instagram now feature shoppable posts, according to a company announcement that claims it is the first mass retailer to sell products via Instagram Checkout.
- Target's shoppable posts are marked with a bag icon in the corner of a mobile screen. Tapping on the product lets users visit a checkout page without leaving Instagram.
- The social media app will store payment and delivery information after shoppers enter it the first time at checkout. After that, Instagram users can complete a purchase from Target's shoppable posts with two taps, per its announcement.
Target's introduction of shoppable posts on Instagram is a key step in converting the app's passive scrollers into active, paying customers. Target's digital sales more than doubled in Q1 from a year earlier as the coronavirus pandemic led many homebound shoppers to order products online. While the company's stores have remained open, brick-and-mortar sales edged upward 0.9%, a fraction of its 11% same-store sales growth, per its quarterly report. To maintain its e-commerce momentum, Target is prioritizing expanding its sales channels to popular social media platforms like Instagram, which has increasingly leaned into commerce in recent years.
By offering shoppable posts on Instagram, Target can boost sales among the millions of consumers who use the app for ideas around fashion, makeup, food and home decorating — all product categories that Target has in its stores. Younger consumers are especially open to shopping on social channels. Ninety-two percent of millennials and 97% of Gen Zers said social media is their top source for shopping ideas, per a survey by installment payment service Afterpay.
Target's shoppable posts are another sign of Instagram's gradual evolution into an e-commerce channel. The photo-sharing app, whose usage is forecast to rise 14% to an average of 30 minutes a day this year, has taken steps in recent years to expand features that let people buy products shown in posts. Instagram in 2018 introduced a dedicated shopping channel in its Explore tab and Stories, which string together images in a single post that disappears after 24 hours. It also created a collection tab to let users save products they've tagged in the app for a later purchase. After debuting Checkout on Instagram in March 2019, the app launched an @Shop account that users can follow to browse and buy from emerging brands across categories.
The deal with Target come as Instagram's parent company Facebook dives deeper into online shopping. Its efforts include this week's introduction of Shops, a new feature to help small businesses in the U.S. turn their social media profiles into digital storefronts on Facebook and Instagram. The feature slightly differs from Target's social commerce efforts in that it's aimed at smaller businesses, while in-app transactions are limited to a handful of companies that are testing Facebook Checkout. Still, Shops demonstrates the social media giant's broader ambitions to grow an e-commerce business that supports more tangible engagement with its advertisers.