By the end of the month, nearly 60 Target stores in five major cities — Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.— will offer delivery on purchases to customers’ doorsteps for $7.
Deliveries will have a two-hour window at a time convenient for shoppers, for what Target called in a statement, "the price of a short taxi ride."
Target received positive feedback on the service during a pilot launched last year at four New York City stores, the company said in a blog post. The home category, which includes large furniture items, has been the most popular for delivery, often with a higher rate of $25 for oversized purchases.
Target has been growing its urban footprint of late, with more small-format stores in city centers and college campuses. Now it’s removing another pain point for city dwellers by offering to deliver purchases so they don't have to schlep them on the subway or bus. Signage at participating stores, in addition to clerks at checkout, will alert customers to the service, but it’s the retailer’s "enhanced supply chain operations and digital technologies" that’s making it possible, according to the company.
Target most recently chose three New York neighborhoods — the Upper East Side, Staten Island and Astoria, Queens — as home to three new small-format stores, the company announced earlier this month. Other locations will open in Hell's Kitchen, Jackson Heights, Queens and Brooklyn Midwood in 2019. Target also announced the summer opening of another small-format store in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. The stores are part of an ongoing plan to construct 130 across the country by the end of 2019 in urban, suburban and college campus areas.
The mass merchant has steadily increased the number of such stores thanks to a $7 billion investment announced by CEO Brian Cornell last March to rethink stores, digital experiences and the connection between the two. The smaller stores cater to a shopping demographic looking for convenient, quick, fill-in trips for essentials like beauty products, groceries, baby supplies, home decor and electronics. Their layout and product assortment is geared to drawing in busy, young professionals and families, the company has said.
"Paramount for the success of Target’s smaller format stores is to expand upon shoppers’ baskets with non-grocery items," Ray Hartjen, director of marketing at RetailNext, told Retail Dive in an email earlier this year. "While the stores might draw the grocery and prepared foods shopper, perhaps an entirely new shopper to the Target brand, their success will likely ultimately depend on the conversion of non-grocery products."
Target noted on Monday that it also offers free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items on Target.com and is expanding curbside pickup services. Target also will be making same-day online deliveries nationwide through Shipt by year’s end. The retailer has been swiftly ramping up its Shipt operations since its acquisition of the shopping and delivery startup in December for $550 million.