Sure, Target isn’t new to the online retail game, but the big box chain seems to perpetually be playing catchup to rivals like Walmart and Amazon. Case in point: Target is once again testing a curbside pickup program, a year after shutting down a similar pilot program.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Target stores in the Twin Cities area are testing a new curbside pickup service with employees.
As with similar pickup services at other retailers, customers place an order through Target’s app or website. They then drive to the store, park in a dedicated space next to the store and an employee will deliver items to the waiting vehicle.
For now, the service is only open to employees and available at the company’s northeast Minneapolis, Roseville, and Maple Grove stores. A rep for Target says the company hopes to make the service “customer facing” and available at more stores in the coming months.
Didn’t We Do This Before?
You might be wondering how this program differs from Target’s previously scrapped pickup option. Well, the idea is the same, but the logistics appear to be different.
Previously, Target worked with a startup company called Curbside (fitting, we know) to run a pilot program that eventually reached 121 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles
Unlike the new pilot, which uses Target’s own app and website, the previous iteration used Curbside’s own app.
While the program with Curbside ended in June 2016, Target notes that the company learned from the experience, and saw it as a good opportunity to build its own service.
Curbside pickup, the rep tells the Star Tribune, is just the latest in Target’s plan to improve convenience for customers, while coordinating its online and physical store presence.
Target appears to be stepping up its efforts to best — or at least even the playing field — with rivals Amazon and Walmart.
For instance, the new pickup service comes years after Walmart began offering a variety of pickup options for customers, from large pickup areas for groceries, to newer mega-vending machines for easy online order pickups.
Recently, Target has turned its sights toward Amazon, launching a Prime Pantry-like service called Restock. Through the service, customers can fill the giant box with their household products, food, or baby and pet supplies, and then have it shipped for a $4.99 flat rate.
For now, Restock is only open to Target’s RedCard customers who live in Minnesota.