Embracing mobile: Target’s expansive shopping app & social media strategy

2 minute read


Most downloaded mobile shopping app in US


YoY eCommerce growth from 2018
to 2019


eCommerce share of revenue since 2014

For most brick-and-mortar retailers, the first step to digital transformation was offering smooth online shopping via desktop: in 2012, mCommerce accounted for just around 10% of digital shopping. But the next pivot will be from desktop-first to mobile-first: mobile shopping volume is projected to grow by over 60% between 2019 and 2021.  In fact, Riskified research found mobile shopping volume has already surpassed desktop even in tangible-goods verticals like fashion and cosmetics.

Target corporation was ahead of the game in realizing the two pillars of a good mobile strategy: a great mobile app, and a brilliant social media strategy.

We're combining a number of different services to really make Target the easiest place in America to shop

BRIAN CORNELL, Target Chairman & CEO

What makes Target’s app unique?

A great mobile app doesn’t just encourage online shopping, it complements in-store shopping and fosters loyalty. Once a shopper downloads your app, they have your store right in their pocket 24/7. 

Source: Target’s app

On the homepage of the Target app, you’re encouraged to browse by dynamic categories - the day before Valentine’s Day you’ll find a curated selection of gifts. In late August, parents will find all the back-to-school supplies their children need compiled in one place.

Perhaps more novel is the ‘Cartwheel offers’ section (the cartwheel and Target apps were recently merged into one), where you can browse only items that are on sale, and sort by discount rate. And the more you use Cartwheel, the more the offers are tailored to your tastes.

Critically, the app also supports in-store shopping. You can easily check unique offers and products at your local branch, and once you’re in the store, an interactive map shows you where all products are on the shelf. Finally, the in-app wallet is a convenient place to store your coupons and gift cards, and allows you to checkout using only your phone.

Target on social media

Source: Target’s instagram

In 2017, the average internet user spent over two hours on social media every day. That’s about 17% of their waking life.

Target built a robust following on Instagram - largely by leveraging the power of influencers. Their 2016 campaign for their ‘Cat and Jack’ line of children’s clothing reached 2.6 million consumers by connecting with just a handful of strategic influencer accounts.

It’s not just about building the brand - Target’s 4 million followers can click right through to their site, and buy the products they see in the posts.

Target also leverages its Youtube channel to market the brand. Connecting with customers on an emotional level is one of Target’s strategies for differentiating from Amazon and Walmart. Youtube is also used to showcase products - and like their Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages - lead viewers straight to Target.com to shop.  

Target’s app

4th most downloaded mobile shopping app in US

34% YoY eCommerce growth since 2018

As of March 2019, eCommerce sales grew over 25% each year for the past five years

Riskified’s fraud insights

Mobile apps are a high-risk channel

When investing in an app as a digital shopping channel, one consideration has to be CNP fraud. In many verticals, orders placed via mobile app carry the greatest risk of fraud. Bad actors can relatively easily download them, and check out using stolen card information. To read more about how stopping fraud can provide a revenue boost, check out our free guide.