Gearing up for the holiday season crunch, on-demand delivery service Shipt plans to hire another 100,000 personal shoppers, increasing its delivery personnel base to more than 300,000.
The Target Corp. subsidiary said yesterday it’s targeting Detroit and Grand Rapids, Mich.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago among the markets for personal shopper hires. Shipt shoppers pick, pack and deliver online orders, which can include food and beverages, daily essentials and nonfood items, depending on the retailer.
“We’re embarking on a holiday season like none before and taking proactive steps to ensure we can help American families get everything on their holiday list — groceries, essentials, gifts, home decor and apparel — in a safe, affordable, convenient way,” Shipt CEO Kelly Caruso said in a statement. “We know that one of Shipt’s true differentiators is that we have shoppers who not only know how to shop really well, but also care about their work and their customers. And we know that families across America need a little bit of holiday help this season. We look forward to welcoming thousands of new shoppers to the Shipt platform this holiday season.”
An independently operated unit of Target, Birmingham, Ala.-based Shipt this year has spurred growth by extending the reach of its service and partnering with retailers outside grocery. The company said that, over the past six months, it has doubled its personal shopper count and grown its membership and customer base.
Perhaps most important, in August, Shipt unveiled a pay-per-order option that allows consumers to use the service without having to commit to an annual membership — enabling the company to better compete with rivals Instacart and Amazon. Customers now can buy Shipt passes for a fee of $10 for one online delivery order, $9 for three orders or $8 for five orders. An annual membership costs $99 per year for unlimited free deliveries on orders of $35 or more.
Shipt noted that the personal shopper expansion reflects not just an expected spike in holiday orders but also its growth into new markets and retailers. Currently, Shipt partners with almost 120 retailers across the United States, with recent additions outside its core grocery space including Party City, Bed, Bath & Beyond and buybuy Baby, and Office Depot. In February, Shipt also unveiled a new look as part of a brand refresh.
Acquired by Target in December 2017 for $550 million, Shipt provides personal shopping and delivery services in more than 5,000 U.S. cities, accessible to 80% of the nation’s households. Its retail partners span the grocery, alcohol, kitchen goods and household staples, pet care, health and wellness, and business products segments.
Shipt added that, as the coronavirus crisis continues, it’s also investing in personal shopper safety and support. Efforts include ongoing access to free personal protective equipment — such as face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer — as well as COVID-19 financial relief and support for shoppers who are temporarily unable to work, due to being diagnosed with COVID-19, having a member of their household diagnosed, or being subject to a mandatory quarantine order.
“Whether customers are motivated by safety, convenience or the desire for a more personalized experience, the common thread is that they all want some extra help,” Caruso stated. “To do so, we will invest in our growing shopper community and retail partners to ensure that we, as always, over-deliver on delivery.”