To address shopper worries about coronavirus this holiday season, Target Corp. is implementing new and enhanced measures to make in-store and online purchases faster and safer.
Target said Thursday that, on the safety front, customers can now use the Wallet mobile payment option in the Target app for contactless self-checkout experience. By using Wallet, in-store shoppers won’t need to pick up a scanning device regardless of where they choose to pay, at the register of self-checkout stations. Wallet also brings Redcard payment, Target Circle offers, weekly ad coupons and gift cards into one place for a single scan at checkout.
The Minneapolis-based retailer also said it’s deploying another 1,000 MyCheckout devices across its store base. Using MyCheckout, associates can help customers check out anywhere in the store and skip waiting in line.
To promote social distancing, Target is introducing pre-trip shopping reservations. The company said it has continued to monitor store capacity and, as needed, limit the total number of shoppers inside stores at one time. This holiday season, customers can go online to Target.com/line to see if their local store currently has a waiting line and, if so, reserve a spot in line. Target then will text the customer to notify them that it’s their turn to enter the store.
“Year over year, the investments we’ve made in our business and team have made Target the easiest place to shop in America. As we've navigated the pandemic, that focus has evolved to ensure we’re also creating the safest place for our guests to shop,” Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. “As we approach the holidays, guests can feel confident in choosing Target — a safe experience, incredible value, and a differentiated assortment that will help them celebrate the joy of the season.”
Enhanced safety measures for the holidays focus on Target’s same-day services for online orders. The company said it aims to add nearly 8,000 Drive Up curbside pickup sites, doubling the total number of locations for the service, in which Target associates bring online orders directly to customers’ vehicles within minutes of their arrival at the store.
In addition, Target said it’s improving social distancing for Drive Up by eliminating the need for barcode scanning. Now, when arriving at the store, customers just have to show the personal identification number on their app screen to associates through their car window to confirm the order. Shoppers, too, can now switch in real time between Drive Up curbside and Order Pickup in-store pickup options, even after they’ve arrived at the store. Target noted that this flexibility to switch between services will provide more convenience during the busy holiday months.
For Target’s fiscal 2020 second quarter ended Aug. 1, digital sales jumped 195% and represented 13.4% of the retailer’s 24.3% total comp-sales growth. Stores fulfilled over 90% of sales during the quarter. Same-day services — Order Pick Up (in-store), Drive Up (curbside pickup) and Shipt (on-demand delivery) — posted 273% comp-sales growth and accounted for about 6% of overall comp-sales gains.
“Among these services, we saw the fastest growth in Drive Up, which grew an astonishing 734% [in the quarter],” Cornell told analysts in a conference call on second-quarter results. “We also saw incredible growth in Target sales fulfilled by Shipt, which were up more than 350%. However, even though we have offered pickup in all of our locations for more than five years, in-store pickup sales increased more than 60% in the quarter.”
The surge in online sales has led Target to expand its same-day service product assortment. The company said Thursday that customers can now use its same-day services to purchase all their holiday needs, including thousands of gifts and all of the ingredients for holiday meals, the latter fueled by this summer’s expansion of fresh and frozen grocery offerings available via Order Pickup and Drive Up. Adult and children’s apparel also is now available through Shipt same-day delivery.
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