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Target teams up with mcommerce app to test curbside shopping

Target is teaming up with new shopping startup Curbside to test curbside shopping through its new mobile commerce application, available on Google Play and the Apple App store.

The Curbside app aims to make finding, purchasing and picking up products from local stores easier and faster for consumers. It is currently testing in ten select Target stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Target executives learned about Curbside, and thought it was a good fit with Target’s goal of delivering digital services that make shopping easier,” said Eddie Baeb, corporate communications and public relations at Target, Minneapolis, MN. “We think the more guests know about services like Curbside and Target’s Store Pickup offering (buy online, pickup in store), the more they’ll appreciate the convenience of shopping at Target.”

Testing services
Curbside claims it is building on the “Get It Now” era of commerce, which focuses heavily on mobile devices for browsing and quick purchasing. Following Target’s announcement earlier this week of its augmented mobile strategy ahead of the holiday shopping season, foraying into curbside shopping is a logical move (see story).

The brand’s new mobile updates include updated apps for smartphones and iPads, a standalone pharmacy app and an app for creating a gift registry with online and in-store inventory. Select stores will also begin rolling out in-store iPad kiosks for registry creating and browsing in November.

“By making Curbside pickup at brick and mortar stores a great experience, great retailers can take advantage of their strengths: their operational expertise and their physical space investments,” said Jaron Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Curbside, Palo Alto, CA.  “With Curbside, shoppers don’t have to find items on shelves or wait in checkout lines, and can get what they need without having to park or get out of their car.

“It’s a very smooth and streamlined experience and a natural extension of a great brand like Target to meet the customer where they want to be met.”

The app underwent beta testing in San Jose, CA, and is now available in select Target stores in the Bay Area. Participating locations include the Geary St. and Metreon stores in San Francisco, and the Westfield’s Oakridge shopping mall in San Jose.

Curbside will also be available at a designed pickup location for smaller retailers at the Oakridge shopping center. The company expects to roll out its services to more retailers in the coming months.

Speedy convenience
Curbside focuses on mobile and local to bring consumers the simplest access to merchants in their areas. Data has shown that mobile apps are carrying increasing importance inside bricks-and-mortar stores from both marketers’ and consumers’ perspectives (see story).

Research from CFI group discovered mobile app usage for in-store shopping purposes this year was twice the amount seen in the previous year.

Curbside is using technology to represent retail inventory and alert stores when consumers are approaching. Consumers can find desired products on the app and check out with one tap.

At Curbside’s Store Pickup locations, customers can have their order waiting for them when they walk in. For Curbside Pickup venues, customers can simply pull up in their cars and meet an employee carrying their order.

The app’s location capabilities will notify employees of approaching consumers to ensure that products are ready upon their arrival.

The app is free to download.

“Gone are the days of finding parking in crowded lots, searching for items on shelves or waiting in long checkout lines,” Mr. Waldman said. “Simply place your order on the mobile app and check out with one swipe and then swing by the store and pick it up.

“We think Curbside will change the way you do your holiday shopping.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York