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Target, Nordstrom boost mcommerce with shoppable Instagram images

In the latest example of how social commerce is quickly gaining steam, Target and Nordstrom are betting the enthusiasm of Instagram users will translate to sales by making it easy to purchase products on display on the retailers’ social network profiles.

Consumers have been known to spend hours scouring Instagram for images of the exact product they want. Now, these users will be able to purchase items from brands participating in the program with just a few clicks.

“We frequently get questions from our guests who have seen a product posted on our Target or Target Style Instagram page and want to know how they can buy it,” said Angie Thompson, public relations and social media at Target, Minneapolis, MN. “With Like2Buy, we’re able to address that need.

“At Target, we’re always looking for ways to make our guests’ mobile commerce experience as seamless as possible,” she said. “With the introduction of Like2Buy, we’re making it easy for our guests to purchase a product they love on Instagram and discover other items they may have missed or not known were available to buy.”

Like to buy
The Like2Buy program was developed by Curalate.

Instagram users interested in purchasing the items they see can click on the Like2Buy link within the Target and Target Style Instagram profiles. This takes them to another site that looks like Instagram where they can select the image with the product they are interested in to be brought to a page on with these products. Doing so from a mobile device brings users to Target’s m-dot site.

The program works similarly for Nordstrom’s Instagram profile.

A recent review of Target’s Instagram Like2Buy experience revealed that participating brands include Sally Hansen, Maybelline, L’Oreal as well as a number of Target’s own house brands.

Target’s Instagram profiles have more than 300,000 followers each with certain individual images garnering thousands of likes. The retailer also reports that its customers who are active on Instagram have been calling for purchasing capabilities for some time.

Social commerce
With the Like2Buy program, Target and Nordstrom are looking to turn their Instagram likes into actual purchases.

And, with much social media activity these days taking place on mobile devices, the Like2Buy program is likely to give a boost to the retailers’ mcommerce strategies.

Social commerce?Target has been leading the way in leveraging the convergence of mobile and social to drive sales.

Late last year, Target leveraged social media site Pinterest via a new microsite that merchandises products with the combination of top-pinned items and best reviews on (see story).

The retailer also has a successful Twitter strategy in place (see story).

Leveraging social media to drive online sales has been an elusive goal for some time. While retailers have recognized the significant potential for viral awareness and trusted referrals in social media, the mechanisms have not been there to enable purchasing.

This is quickly changing this year, with some marketers opting to build their own social platforms (see story).

The big social media platforms are also stepping up their efforts to drive commerce.

For example, Coca-Cola recently entered into its first social commerce foray with the introduction of a Twitter program that enables users to send a soft drink to their friends for $5 as a digital extension of the “Share a Coke” campaign (see story).

The power of Instagram
Curalate also offers Fanreel, which enables retailers such as Wet Seal to integrated fan generated photos from Facebook and Instagram into its product pages (see story).

“As Forrester has pointed out, Instagram currently drives 58 times the engagement of Facebook and 120 times the engagement of Twitter,” said Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate.

“Historically, there was no easy way to turn engagement into revenue on Instagram,” he said. “Like2Buy solves this by making it simple for fans to get to the products they want, and it can be implemented by social teams big or small in about a minute.

“Instagram as a vehicle for commerce is still in its early days as is the relationship between social and ecommerce. The importance of Instagram in shaping mobile commerce strategies will only be known once ecommerce and social teams communicate more frequently and once rich data exists demonstrating Instagram’s potential to drive traffic and revenue.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York