Social Shopping: Target Stars in Sitcom, Sephora Builds Social Network

Source: Kevin Dooley / Flickr

Source: Kevin Dooley / Flickr

Target (NYSE:TGT) might not be doing so hot thanks to its high-profile holiday season security breach, but it did hit the big screen Tuesday and that at least has to count for something. Big screen, you ask? Oh, we mean, your screen. Fierce Retail reported Wednesday that Target teamed up with TBS to place twenty-five products in Tuesday’s episode of Cougar Town, a sitcom that stars Courtney Cox, Christa Miller, and Busy Phillips. In effect, the 23-minute episode turned into a 23-minute commercial for Target.

According to Fierce Retail, Target’s Nate Berkus line was featured in the TBS sitcom. Producers allowed Target to outfit the set with Berkus’s household decor and accessories, and throughout the program, viewers could see flashing red icons on products available for purchase. If consumers were interested in investing in some of Cougar Town’s household decor, all they had to do was click on the item to buy it directly from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Convenient or distracting? You decide.

This was Target’s first time enlisting wireWax technology, marketed as the “world’s first taggable video tool,” and if its appearance in Cougar Town proved to go over well with customers, the struggling company might continue partnering with television networks to market its content, and other retailers and brands might hop on the bandwagon, too.

Right now, Target needs the increased demand for its products more than ever, thanks to its security breach, and Rick Gomez, Target’s senior vice president of marketing, stood by the retailer’s latest campaign in an interview with The New York Times. According to Fierce Retail, he maintained, “It’s a combination of being a product integration that’s really integrated into the story line of the script, being on a major network, and with a unique shopping experience. And that’s something we’ve never done before.”

Many retailers, like Target, have worked to take advantage of the phenomenon known as “smart shopping,” but they have all proven to carve out their own strategy, making different amounts of progress along the way. Take Sephora, the popular French cosmetics company, for example. Fierce Retail reports that it recently launched its own social network, Beauty Board, that allows users to upload photos of their own makeup or hairstyle, and add a caption and tag the beauty products so viewers can shop the exact products used to create the look. Sephora fosters the understanding that its shoppers are social media addicts (many are regulars on Pinterest), and it used that knowledge to help it roll out its latest “social shopping campaign” that has gone over significantly well with customers.

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And not only has Sephora’s new Beauty Board helped the company realize a boost in sales — it has also given the cosmetics chain a window into what its customers are purchasing, and what looks they like the best. This generation’s shoppers never leave home without their phones, and now when they walk into Sephora stores, they know exactly what they’re after, and so do the company’s executives and employees. According to Fierce Retail, Sephora saw a 150 percent boost in mobile traffic last year, and Johnna Marcus, Sephora’s director of mobile and digital store marketing, explained via Fierce Retail, “The customer who shops across channels is a lot more valuable. Our app and website are really to help the consumer. We’ve figured out how to use the mobile experience to customize the shopping experience.”

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