Point, Snap and Buy with New Target App

One major U.S. retailer is taking the next step in digital e-commerce, with the launch of Target’s new image recognition shopping app that allows customers to purchase products after scanning them in print.

According to CRB Online, “The [In-a-Snap] app makes use of the camera on the iOS device, and scans the image displayed in the ad. The app makes a ‘snap’ sound when it completes the recognition process and then the item displayed in the image is added to the shopping cart.”

While the app is currently limited to the Target Room Essentials brand in 10 different magazines, Target plans to expand into other product lines as this idea is proven to work. And the company promises that its back-to-school issue will be app friendly too.

According to the Target company blog, “The new image recognition app lets you easily shop Target items directly off the pages of magazines and printed ads – without having to scan confusing codes, look up links or search for product online or in store.”

It’s an intriguing idea, and one worth exploring. While the QR code was supposed to be the next big thing in retail purchasing, that idea has been dying a slow death as scanning apps and codes proved too cumbersome.

If Target can truly make this simple and seamless, they may have a chance. But the days of customers getting excited over apps just because they are apps is over. For this idea to have real value, it better work quickly and flawlessly.

If they can make this work, we may be looking at a whole new way to quantify the ROI of print ads in the purchase funnel, a marketer’s dream.

Look for the Target spreads in Architectural Digest, Real Simple and Domino among others, and give it a try.