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Target drives mobile commerce sales with flashy pictures on Instagram

Discount retailer Target is driving product sales through colorful images on Twitter and Instagram with a high engagement rate.

The retailer’s social media accounts are full of aesthetically pleasing pictures featuring products it sells with a focus on color, especially on Instagram. The Target products are photographed in a unique way with bright hued backgrounds or text and shared on applications with links to shop items.

“At Target, we’re always looking for fun ways to engage with guests and deliver great design, newness and innovation, [and] that’s true in stores, online and in social media,” said Eddie Baeb, spokesman for Target, Minneapolis, Mn. “We want to be relevant, to be both inspired by our guests and to inspire them.

“We view social media platforms like Instagram as a great place to tell creative product stories that are thumb-stopping and share-worthy,” he said. “In social media, we want to create moments of delight that inspire guests to share and shop.”

These pictures usually exhibit a play on words. For instance, a picture on Target’s Instagram account featured a pair of sandals with a bright pink background surrounded by padlocks, with the caption reading “these #sandals make it easy to get your #spring style lock down” with the hashtag #Targetstyle included as well.

Attracting the consumer
The use of color in Target’s images stand out, so even if the consumer is not focusing on scrolling through it will catch her eye and hopefully intrigue her to purchase.

The hashtags such as #springstyle #Targetstyle and #sandals are common hashtags the retailer includes to reach a greater audience. These hashtags are popular, which means a greater number of users will see the post.

Target includes text that reads, “shop link in profile” in the location feature of Instagram instead of a place. Interested consumers will then click on to the profile where a link to purchase featured items is listed.


This is something seen often on brand and retailer accounts on the social media app to make captions more readable. Users are able to clearly see directions to purchase instead of it being buried in a cluttered caption.

Although this tactic reaches a large amount of consumers, the extra steps it takes to purchase can deter shoppers causing mobile commerce to fall by the wayside. Target eases this with mobile friendly links that allow interested consumers to view the curated featured list of products with little to no issues.

On Twitter the shopping experience flows more effortlessly because links are included directly in the post, which makes purchasing a one-step process. The issue with Twitter is that the pictures are not showcased as well and reach lesser viewers.

For instance, a picture of Target brand alphabet gummies used as Scrabble pieces received more than 13,000 likes on Instagram but only 13 retweets on Twitter and 68 favorites.

Whether or not the post on Instagram created a boost in revenue for the product is unknown, but it is clear that the app has a greater reach and engagement rate when it comes to images.

The retailer also reposts colorful standout photos from other social media users to broaden its reach. It also piggybacks onto trending topics that are happening at the moment such as posting a photo of dogs with Target chew toys on National Puppy Day.


Mobile sales
The social media posts are just one of the many mobile strategies Target is employing. A Target executive at eTail West 2015 discussed the retailer’s challenges and successes in integrating mobile with the physical in-store experience, claiming that guests using its mobile application while shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store spend more than those that do not (see more).

Jack Rogers used similar commerce tactics on Instagram recently as well. The women’s shoe designer started holding flash sales through its Instagram account and mobile-optimized Web site (see more).

“Last year, we were one of the first retailers to make Instagram shoppable using Curalate’s Like2Buy solution to simplify the purchase experience,” Mr. Baeb said. “We saw traffic to from Instagram increase by 10 times after we launched the initiative.

“We continue to see a good response from guests, and are working to refine and enhance the experience based on guest feedback.”

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York