The big-box brand with the bullseye dog are at it again, putting a target on competitors’ backs.
In the never-ending pursuit of Amazon and seeking separation from other foes like Walmart, Target has announced the availability of same-day delivery in 46 states ahead of the peak holiday season from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
The company is also offering free two-day shipping plus curbside pickup on hundreds of thousands of items with no purchase threshold, from Nov. 1 to Dec 22.
“We want to make the busy holiday season easier for our guests so they can spend more time with their family and friends,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell in a release. “From same-day delivery with Shipt, drive up, free two-day shipping and more, no other retailer can match the convenient delivery options that Target will offer this season.”
Shoppers can place orders via the Shipt app or website and have them delivered in as little as an hour by personal shoppers, with 55,000 eligible products. The Drive Up curbside service has a wider SKU base of 250,000 items, with orders processed in an hour and ready for pickup in two minutes, the company said. It has been expanded to 1,000 Target stores nationwide as of this month, ahead of an original end-of-year date.
Since March Target has offered free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more – the same as Walmart – with no threshold for store card loyalty members. As of Nov. 1, that offer is being blown out to all shoppers with no threshold. If two-day shipping isn’t available during the holiday peak season, Target will offer shoppers free standard delivery.
Frank Poore, CEO of ecommerce software firm CommerceHub, said the continual push toward “free” and “fast” by the big three just raise the pressure on the rest of the field to keep up, citing Walmart’s non-subscription-based program and incentives for store pickup, in addition to Target.
“With all retailers offering shipping promotions this will quickly become more about who can provide the most exceptional customer experience overall,” Poore said. “This is how retailers can build brand loyalty, compete and stay relevant. It’s about how convenient and easy you’ve made it for customers to shop with you either online or in store.”
MCM Musings: Target has invested considerable resources to make these offers a reality, including supply chain and fulfillment center upgrades, technology advances and acquisitions like Shipt and Grand Junction in 2017. The company now handles about half of its ecommerce orders from its stores, and plans to fulfill over 90% of two-day orders from physical locations as well. About 80% of its holiday business will come from stores, CEO Brian Cornell told the Wall Street Journal. As are Amazon and others, Target is also blowing out its toy category ahead of the holidays, with 2,500 new offerings and expanded floor space, hoping to pick up share with the demise of Toys R Us.