Target Leaning Hard on Retail Tech to Win the Holiday Shopping War

Lisa Johnston
Editor-in-Chief, CGT
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Target is tapping tech to make its stores a safer destination during the holidays.

With holiday competition expected to be fierce, the No. 8 retailer is updating its app, stores and checkout experiences with the hopes of making consumers more comfortable about their ability to retrieve items quickly during the pandemic.

It’s now offering contactless self-checkout using Wallet, the mobile payment option in its app, providing hands-free checkout experiences whether via an associate or a self-checkout area.

The app has also been updated so consumers can adjust in real time if they want to retrieve their order using buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) Order Pickup or Drive Up services, even after they’ve arrived at the store.

Shoppers can also make reservations on Target’s website. The site will indicate if there is a line outside; if so, they can reserve a spot and receive a text notification when it’s their turn to enter the store.

The retailer is doubling the total number of Drive Up spots for curbside delivery, adding almost 8,000 more, and consumers can now display their order and personal ID number through their car window to skip bar code scanning. The number of products available through the service has been greatly expanded this year.

Finally, it’s also adding 1,000 more MyCheckout mobile devices to its associates for faster transactions.

 “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,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell 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.”

Target has already begun hiring extra employees to work during the season, with plans to double the number of store associates devoted to BOPIS and curbside services. Its ability to leverage its stores as microfulfilment centers have helped it report record digital growth during the pandemic.

In the second quarter, the company grew Order PickUp, Drive Up and Shipt delivery services 273%, and its stores fulfilled more than 90% of Q2 sales.

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