Target emphasises one-hour collections in peak war with Amazon

Mass merchant Target has announced a raft of holiday season measures to mark it out as a convenient and fast option for their holiday shoppers, many of whom report that they will be shopping on Amazon this year.

Nearly a third of Amazon Prime shoppers surveyed by research firm Coresight reported that they were switching from Target to shop on Amazon.com this winter. To fight back against the online giant, Target is investing an additional $50 million compared to 2018 on payroll to get more staff able to help holiday shoppers at peak hours. The focus is on fulfilment, with Target claiming that customers will be able to get their orders in “as soon as an hour”.

Additionally, Target is offering free shipping across “hundreds of thousands of items” between November 1st and December 21st, with no minimum purchase or membership required, in a direct challenge to the convenience and appeal of Amazon Prime. These orders, Target is keen to emphasise, are available to collect from stores within an hour and brought out to customers’ cars within 2 minutes of arrival.

The retailer has invested heavily in its buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) proposition for exactly this reason. While Amazon can lean on its Prime service to draw customers with free 2 day shipping, the Seattle giant is some way from being able to offer 1-hour fulfilment times due to its lack of store infrastructure. Doddle CCO Mike Richmond recently wrote about the importance of this strategic capability, which we call Instant Click & Collect:

“The concept is simple. The single biggest advantage multichannel retailers have over their pureplay rivals is that they already have their products in places near the people who want them. Multichannel retailers’ job, using the old adage, is simply to have the right stuff in the right place at the right time. All they need to do is make it instantly available to online consumers to pick up.

To do this requires more investment in managing inventory, and better store applications around services like click and collect, but both are (or should be) front and centre of retailers’ strategies in any case.”

Read Mike’s full piece here.