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Target’s pop-culture trivia game on Instagram scores mcommerce points

Target is playing a guessing game with its Instagram followers and, in doing so, is driving digital sales, boosting its use of mobile video and enhancing its image as on-trend through pop-culture trivia.

Target posted videos on its page inviting consumers to guess which fictional character the retailer is  alluding to based on a collection products followers can then purchase. The strategy shows how Target is continuing to secure its social media pages as a creative and playful destination to engage with consumers and drive sales.

“If a retailer is not strategically using social media to drive user engagement, build customer loyalty, and strengthen their brand then they are missing out on connecting with their consumers who habitually traffic the common social media outlets,” said Andrew Van Noy, CEO of Warp 9, Inc. “Until recently, retailers could run great campaigns with their own content on these social media outlets, but did not quite know how to monetize them.

“Technology has now evolved to make user-generated content in apps such as Instagram purchasable, which some say is far more effective than the retailer pushing their own content,” he said. “This real-life user-generated content can be far more persuasive in the sales process as it acts as a visual review for others thinking about purchasing the same product.”

Guessing games
Social media offers up a wide range for brands and realtors to connect with consumers in unique and creative manners. Target is a known innovator in this space, and is consistently serving fans with content they are excited to engage with.

“At Target, we are always looking for unique ways to surprise and delight our guests,” said Angie Thompson, spokeswoman for Target. “Through #NameThatShopper, we want to engage our followers with timely, relevant content using a fun twist on an experience that is familiar to every guest, checking out.”

While Instagram users can view an assortment of imaginative product images on Target’s page, it also gives consumers a way to play with the retailer. The most recent idea, Name that Shopper, entices users by combining pop culture trivia with Target products.

Consumers following Target on Instagram will see videos featuring a variety of products from the retailer’s inventory. Each of the products is an item that a fictional character would most likely buy, and to get in on the fun fans comment with their answers.

Target is leveraging Instagram’s buying page feature, where users can click the link located on its page to purchase the items listed in its posts.

For example, the retailer shared a video encouraging users to guess the character by displaying products such as blue jean overalls, a pair of black shoes, goggles and a bunch of bananas, as if they were being scanned at a checkout counter. Not only does the trivia and guessing aspect lure in consumers, but also the video content is unique and attention grabbing.

The retailer is also leveraging popular topical references. The fictional shopper that Target was referring to with its recent post was one of the minions from the film series Despicable Me and Minions, which is a current trending topic on social media.

Another round of the game referred to Cher from the cult favorite film Clueless, on the day of the film’s anniversary. The nostalgic affection for the film generated a slew of posts on all social media platforms, and Target was keen to leverage this and also offer the movie through its Instagram link.

Mobile inventions
This is an extension of Target’s continual sales ingenuity. The retailer also gave 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 (see more).

Also, it recently leaned heavily on mobile to make the most of its buzzed-about tie-in with the Lilly Pulitzer brand, leveraged social media, SMS and email to target style-savvy young consumers (see more).

“When real-life customers post pictures of themselves wearing or using a retailer’s product on social media sites, it is visual proof of how that product can work on real people in the real world,” Mr. Van Noy said. “Ratings and reviews are so important to online shopping, and visual commerce can take that to another level.

“You can trust that someone who is not a model and has not been photoshopped looks good in that product you wanted to buy when they upload it themselves,” he said. “The more user-generated content of customers using their product that retailers can place on their site the better.

“Combine user-generated content with technology that allows you to tag items within the image that can be clicked and bought, then you have a solid social media strategy that can now make you money.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily