Target Gets Ready for Holiday Shopping With Mobile Payment Push
Yes, it’s November again, and with November comes the inevitable push toward the holiday shopping season. Between Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, there’s a lot of ground to cover here, and retailers are eagerly offering up their best deals and the latest goods to go with it. Target is bringing a little extra mobile payments push to its holiday preparations, offering its new “Skip the Line” feature that should put a little extra Christmas cheer in some shoppers’ hearts.
The Skip the Line concept features a host of Target employees packing hand-held scanners that will be able to check out customers using credit or debit card purchases from pretty much anywhere. Even on Black Friday, there will be extra employees on hand to really ramp up the Skip the Line notion and allow for checkout from heavily-trafficked sections like electronics.
That alone is a pretty big step, and it only gets better; Target also recently announced free two-day shipping with no minimum, and stepped up both its same-day Shipt service and its Drive-Up service, which is now available at nearly 1,000 stores. It’s poised for a Thanksgiving opening, but not until 5:00 PM, and then a 7:00 AM opening for Black Friday.
All told, Target’s plans are bold, audacious and just a little risky. Ramping up the delivery cycles will likely be a help here, as will the Skip the Line plan. Why Target didn’t take it just a little farther and let customers do their own mobile checkout via an app is unclear, but it might have had something to do with larger-than-normal crowds and security issues. Moreover, a Thanksgiving opening has been shown to come with some negative perception that the store that uses it is “stealing the holiday” from Thanksgiving, but considering there seem to be more shoppers than complainers, it might be less an issue than expected.
Still, Target’s taking the fight to Amazon and its various other competitors this year, and hopefully, this will pay off sufficient. Brick-and-mortar has had a tough time in this market for the last few years, but moves like this could help turn the tide and give brick-and-mortar shopping a reason to stay open.