Target Takes on Amazon With Same-Day Shipping and Curbside Pickups

Target is charging ahead with a plan to diversify the ways in which it gets its products to consumers.

CNBC is reporting that the retailer is halfway through the rollout of the same-day delivery program it announced late last year. Facilitating the same-day deliveries is Shipt, a Birmingham, Ala.–based same-day delivery platform that Target acquired last year for $550 million.

When Target shoppers choose the Shipt option, they are assigned a personal shopper who stays in contact with them from the point of order to the delivery of the package(s). Personal shoppers send notes including details on where the package is en route, drop-off time, and if the item is out of stock.

Same-day delivery joins a trio of other modern-feeling pickup and delivery options Target is currently in the midst of rolling out and/or testing. Those include Target Restock, which is essentially a direct copy of Amazon’s Prime Pantry option: Online shoppers fill a box with up to 45 pounds of everyday essentials (think laundry detergent and cat food) and enjoy super-low shipping costs.

Drive Up is a service that lets online shoppers pick up purchased products from an area at the store’s front curb (more than 600 Target stores in 20 states offered Drive Up as of last week). Target is also letting shoppers in certain geographic areas order and buy products online then pick them up in-store.

The suite of new delivery and pickup programs take aim squarely at what has been Amazon’s major point of differentiation in the market since its inception—its speedy distribution.

Shipt is Target’s answer to Amazon Prime—shoppers will pay $99 annually for the pleasure of same-day delivery (Amazon Prime is currently $119 annually, and that cost covers its streaming movie service, too).

A company spokesman told CNBC that Chicago will be the first city to offer all four delivery and pickup options. He added that the city is “an important and strong market for Target, with 80-plus stores, including a host of small-format stores. It has a dense, urban population to support ‘from-store’ delivery. It’s also a highly competitive market.”

Target plans to offer same-day delivery, via Shipt, in more than 135 markets by the end of this month. CNBC reports that all major product categories will come with the option to be shipped same-day by 2019.

Top: A styled depiction of a Shipt personal shopper (photo courtesy of Target) 

JCK Magazine Editor