Amid a fraught retail industry in light of the coronavirus pandemic, mass retailer Target has launched virtual shopping on Instagram.

The chain will now let Instagrammers purchase products via shoppable posts on both Target’s main Instagram hub (4.4 million followers) as well as a separate Target Style account (2.2 million followers), which is dedicated to fashion and beauty products. Target says it’s the first mass retailer to sell products via the Instagram Checkout feature. That feature launched in March 2019 and lets shoppers transact sales natively within the Instagram app. Shoppable posts are marked via a shopping bag icon, and Instagram can store payment and delivery info after the first purchase for a more seamless checkout.

Mobile Marketer reports that Target’s Q1 digital sales more than doubled over the same period last year. In-store shopping, on the other hand, has increased just 0.9%.

In addition to launching Checkout last year, Instagram unveiled a Shop account last May, which showcases up-and-coming brands in different product categories with shoppable posts. And parent company Facebook, too, has introduced new ecommerce features amid the pandemic, including a new feature that’s also called Shops, which aims to help small businesses turn their pages on Facebook and Instagram into digital storefronts.

“More and more guests are searching for digital shopping options, and we’re continuing to invest in experiences that allow them to get what they need from Target whenever, wherever and however they want,” Dawn Block, Target’s SVP of digital, said in a statement. “We know our guests are already using Instagram, so we’re making it even easier for them to find and buy the quality, affordable products they expect from Target.”

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