Target launches free, 2-day shipping with no minimum purchase requirement

Take that, Amazon and Walmart. Target has just come out swinging with news that it’s launching free, two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items across its site without requiring a minimum purchase or an annual membership fee. This challenge to Amazon Prime comes at a time when Prime membership is at highest – Prime subscribers passed the 100 million milestone this April. But it also arrives at a time when Prime subscription prices are climbing and there’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction over Prime’s 2-day deliveries that often turn into three days, four or more.

Unfortunately, however, Target’s free shipping is only a holiday perk, not a new policy. (At least, not yet.)

Target says it’s launching the free, two-day shipping on November 1, and will extend the offer throughout the holiday season, wrapping on December 22.

Before, this free shipping option was only available to Target REDcard holders, who also get an extra 5% off purchases. The offering for REDcard holders was announced in March, and required a minimum purchase of $35.

That’s the same minimum Walmart requires for its own, free, two-day shipping option launched last year. Walmart this week expanded that to its marketplace sellers, as well.

Target announced its news on Tuesday, adding that its new, two-day option exists alongside a host of ways to shop its stores.

In addition to ship-to-home delivery, it also now operates same-day delivery service Shipt, for groceries, gifts, decorations, and other household goods; Target Restock, for next-day delivery; same-day delivery from store in urban markets like Boston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.; online order pickup; and Drive Up, for same-day order pick up.

The latter will be available at nearly 1,000 stores by the end of the month, it says, while Shipt is now available to millions of consumers across hundreds of markets in 46 U.S. states.

Target’s agenda to make a variety of easy and affordable ways to shop its stores and site have been paying off. During its most recent earnings, the retailer reported its web sales rose 41%, aided by slashing next-day delivery fees and the bump from Amazon’s Prime Day in July – a sales holiday that now helps all retailers running competing sales.

Target’s sales growth for the quarter was the best it had seen in 13 years, the company reported at the time.