Target has grand plans for Shipt, the same-day grocery delivery service it bought a year ago for $550 million. While generally known today as something of an Instacart competitor — essentially Target’s answer to Walmart and Amazon’s grocery delivery businesses — Shipt has expanded to include more of Target’s assortment over the past year. By 2019, the company says Shipt will offer same-day delivery of “all major product categories.”
Today, Shipt offers same-day delivery on more than 55,000 groceries and other essentials, as well as select electronics, toys and other products.
Next year, the delivery service will expand to include all major product categories, Shipt tells TechCrunch.
That means categories like apparel, towels and more will become available for same-day delivery. The retailer declined to share specific details, like how many additional SKUs would be involved, or when in 2019 this category expansion would begin.
The move could be a potential game-changer for Target, however, which has been revamping its business to better accommodate all the ways people want to shop, both online and off. It has been remodeling its stores to add parking spaces for Drive Up customers — meaning, those who place orders online for same-day pickup from the store. It has updated stores’ layouts so online Order Pickup, self-checkout and grab-and-go grocery essentials are near the front as you walk in.
But one of the challenges Target still faces is that it can be difficult to figure out which merchandise is available via which delivery or pickup method. Even when you search and filter for “in-store” merchandise in Target’s mobile app, you’ll be shown out-of-stock items as well as those you can only order online for shipping to your home.
Meanwhile, a lot of Target’s merchandise — like cold grocery items and clothing — are not available through both of the same-day services like Drive Up or Shipt. (Grocery is through Shipt only; clothing is through Drive Up or Order Pickup only.)
The end result is that you can’t do a full “Target run” that includes all types of merchandise, unless you go into the store. It also likely causes customer confusion, since Drive Up and Shipt offer access to a different assortment of products. Why shouldn’t same-day items be available for both pickup or delivery?
But if Shipt grows to include all major product categories in 2019, it could become Target customers’ preferred same-day service.
In 2018, Shipt saw massive expansion, following Target’s promise that it — along with Drive Up — would be available nationwide by the 2018 holidays.
The retailer noted in a corporate blog post about Shipt’s one-year anniversary that the delivery service now reaches more than 200 U.S. markets across 46 states — up from the 70 markets where it was live at the time of acquisition. Shipt has also seen its membership numbers triple since joining Target, the retailer says, and it’s hired more than 375 new employees across its Birmingham, Alabama and San Francisco offices.
Shipt will continue to expand geographically in 2019, and will expand its Birmingham headquarters’ headcount by the “hundreds,” Target said.
Correction: Shipt is available in over 200 markets in the U.S. Through an editing error, another word was pasted in this sentence. It has been removed.