Target is planning a pilot program for REDcard users this summer in Minneapolis, under which it will provide personalized shopping and next-day delivery of frequently-repurchased convenience items, according to a company blog post.
The program, Target Restock, is now being tested by employees. When it goes into the pilot phase, REDcard holders will be eligible to visit a dedicated online experience where they can buy household essentials and convenience products. Users will be able to fill a box with multiple items, after which orders will be packaged at a nearby store, allowing the retailer to provide next-day orders placed before 1:30 p.m. by the next business day.
"We created Target Restock to save busy guests time, and make it easier than ever to get household essentials delivered quickly," the blog states. "This is another example of how Target is connecting stores and digital to create new services for guests."
This service sounds a bit like Amazon Dash in its focus on frequently replenished items, and a bit like what Amazon Prime members can get by shopping Prime Pantry and choosing next-day delivery for their orders (and maybe there's a bit of Jet.com in there, too.)
In other words, this doesn't seem like anything terribly new on the surface, although to be fair there is a lot we don't know yet about this program. If Target Restock can manage to set up a program that is simple and customer-friendly to use, affordable and with fast delivery, it will come pretty close to matching what others offer. And if it can manage to offer product prices and express delivery at lower cost than the others, it will really be onto something.
Target Restock may also be the retailer's latest step in its attempt to refresh its grocery business amid logistical challenges it has battled to stay ahead of grocery spoilage as well as greater pressure on the brick-and-mortar front from Amazon and others. Target hasn't specified if perishable products will be part of the new program, but it seems some consumer packaged goods could be in the mix, as Target describes the new service will include "your go-to brands of laundry detergent and paper towels, to granola bars and coffee."
Target Restock is also one of the first new technology-related projects to be announced since the retailer announced last month that its chief of innovation was departing amid a refocusing on more practical technology projects closer to Target's core business aims. While this new program doesn't appear at this stage to be all that innovative in a ground-breaking way, it does seem like a practical advancement that Target could roll out and expand quickly using resources it has at its disposal today.