Target Lands Shipt to Shore Up Delivery

December 18, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Shopping online can be a great thing, with access to products you can’t find just anywhere. I’ve got a closet full of Christmas presents right now that can’t be found in stores around here. But online shopping’s biggest problem will always be the last mile: getting those ordered and paid for products to the door. To that end, Target recently bought Shipt to help advance its own last-mile operations.

Target shelled out $550 million in cash to land Shipt, which offers a same-day delivery operation that’s actually becoming very popular with retailers. Target will be combining its massive array of stores with Shipt’s line of proprietary systems in a bid to get same-day delivery to more online shoppers all over the country.

By the early part of 2018—which isn’t all that far away now—Target expects to have same-day shipping options available for half its stores. Before Christmas 2018, meanwhile, the option will extend to “the majority of Target’s stores”, reports note. Shipt itself, meanwhile, combines that proprietary technology with a network of over 20,000 personal shoppers that allow over 72 separate markets to enjoy same-day delivery.

Shipt’s CEO and founder Bill Smith noted “Partnering with Target and the national scale they provide allows Shipt to further accelerate our growth, bringing our service to more people in more markets across the country. We’ll continue growing our marketplace and membership base, working with a variety of retailers to drive scale and efficiencies.”

The good news here is that Target shoppers will now be able to get orders much, much faster than Amazon could ever provide, and that could go some way toward undercutting Amazon’s primacy in the market. However, Target will have another problem on its hands: matching the sheer range of goods that Amazon stocks. While Target will definitely have an edge in at least some fields, Amazon will likely keep a major chunk of its market thanks to the variety involved.

Still, brick-and-mortar may not be out of the hunt yet, and by allowing its immediacy advantage over online shopping to work online as well, that vast network of stores may prove more valuable than ever.