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Target bridges mcommerce with print, TV via Shazam app

Target is giving consumers a new way to explore and purchase its products through a partnership with Shazam, with users of the application able to scan any print or television ad to access shoppable content.

Thanks to Target’s heavy presence in print and on TV as an advertiser, the strategy has the potential to be an important new commerce channel for the mass merchant. Target, alongside The Walt Disney Company, is among several major brands and publishers teaming up with Shazam and its new visual recognition technology that enables consumers to snap a photo of print media, packaged goods or posters with their smartphone and be able to shop the products immediately, suggesting that image recognition will be a top trend for mobile commerce this year.

“We’re creating a new way for users to have deeper engagement with the things that capture their attention,” said Peter Szabo, senior vice president, head of music and U.S. ad sales at Shazam, Los Angeles, CA. “They can get an innovative user experience, like they get with Disney’s Shazamable Tomorrowland ad, access to special offers, the ability to save items for later or share them with others, or buy on the spot without downloading another app or having to type.

“For commerce, driving a purchase is the most important thing, it’s one tap shopping from any printed material.”

Branded support
Target has been cementing its status as a leader in mobile over the past year, and will now be able to tap even more mobile commerce potential with the Shazam partnership. With Target’s heavy ad presence as is, customers will no doubt have plenty of opportunities to further explore the showcased goods.

The brand also recently ramped up shopping list features in its mobile application with a bigger focus on deals and offers (see story). Its social media strategy has also remained on point, with the retailer is upping the ante with a live-stream event on Periscope to drive sales for its latest designer partnership with jeweler Eddie Borgo, following its high mobile and digital sales of its line in collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer (see story).

Several international brands, such as Guerlain and Evian, are set to offer consumers the same shoppable ability from packaging and billboard advertisements abroad.

Shazam’s new offering has the potential to yield a frictionless shopping experience on mobile, a feat which many brands aim to perfect.

Meanwhile, The Walt Disney Company has teamed up with Shazam for the first Shazamable ad for the Tomorrowland film.

A slew of publishers are also on the roster, including Time Inc., the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins Publishers, which will offer several Shazamable titles including Harper Lee’s forthcoming Go Set a Watchman and Chris Kyle’s American Sniper.

Shoppable content
Consumers with smartphones will be able to pull up the Shazam app and scan a variety of print ads, television ads, posters and packaged items to transform those products into shoppable content that can be purchased instantly. These types of visual recognition features are lending more support to the demands for instant gratification.

Shazam is also likely to surpass its 100 monthly million active users with this new tool. As the time spent with applications is increasingly relegated to a choice few, narrowly focused offerings such as Shazam and Fandango are racing to broaden their appeal and leverage their initial success for a more meaningful role in consumers’ lives (see story).

Consumers who are interested in taking advantage of this feature may open the Shazam app on their smartphones and tap the camera icon to prompt the visual experience. As soon as the camera is waved over a product with a QR code or Shazam camera logo, the user will receive access to interactive mobile content, special deals and the ability to buy the item or share it with a friend.

Shazam’s music identification option will still be available within the app.

More retailers and third-party apps are foraying into image recognition and visual search functions, with Macy’s offering customers the ability to take a photo of a product and automatically receive suggestions for the same or similar item in the brand’s inventory within the app.

Furthermore, in a reflection of the growing role that image recognition technology is playing in mobile shopping, visual product search company Slyce Inc. acquired mobile couponing firm SnipSnap for $6.5 million this past January (see story).

“It’s an area we’ve been looking at for a while,” Mr. Szabo said. “Music identification has obviously been our biggest use case for years, but we kept thinking about what it would mean to allow our users to recognize things visually as well.

“With visual recognition, Shazam is helping brands create near-frictionless engagement with their customers and providing users with really immersive content,” he said. “Now, everything from posters, to packaged goods, to print media, and more are transformed from static images into dynamic pieces of content.

“Adding the option to make purchases within the experience was just another way to provide a seamless service to both brands and users.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York