Target Is Using Its Brick-And-Mortar Stores To Fight The E-Commerce Wars
The Minnesota-based retail chain is halfway through the integration of personal shopper app Shipt, which it acquired in December for $550M, CNBC reports. The service connects customers with Shipt staffers roaming the aisles on their behalf who can inform shoppers when items are out of stock and when the items are en route from the store.
With Shipt and its new Drive Up service, wherein online orders can be picked up curbside, Target is well underway in rolling out multiple methods for customers to receive items the same day they order them online. Target expects both services to be present in virtually every market in time for the holiday season.
To facilitate the rollout, Target has spent large sums of money to renovate stores and add urban-format Target Express locations in several markets. The results so far have been mixed, as the number of Target shoppers rose 3.7% in the first quarter (a 10-year high), but profit margins shrank and stock prices dropped quarter to quarter, CNBC reports. Since the beginning of the year, however, Target's share prices have risen about 20% overall.
Shipt membership costs $99 per year, $20 less than Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping. Its cost is in line with grocery apps such as Instacart, according to CNBC, and is on track to be available nationwide ahead of a similar service from Walmart. A third component of Target's e-commerce push, Target Restock, is comparable to Amazon Pantry in its weight-limited, daily-essentials shipping format.
By the end of the month, Target expects Shipt to be available in 135 markets for most product types, with all major product types becoming available next year.