A month and a half after announcing its purchase of Birmingham, Ala.-based grocery-delivery service Shipt for $550 million, mass-merchandiser Target Corp. has revealed the first markets to receive access to same-day delivery of groceries and other goods.
Starting Feb. 1, 57 stores in Birmingham, Ala., and south Florida will be able to serve local residents, who can choose from a full selection of groceries, essentials, home goods, electronics and other products. Shipt shoppers will receive the orders, visit stores to purchase the products, and then deliver them to the user on the same day, usually within just a few hours.
While the service is ready to launch in the two markets, getting it to that point wasn't without its challenges. One in particular was getting hundreds of thousands of products in the aisles uploaded to Shipt’s app, including around 50,000 items (many of them fresh food items) that weren’t already listed on Target.com. The Minneapolis-based retailer had to leverage existing data, while members of its own and Shipt’s teams visited stores to gather additional info and ensure that items are listed accurately.
“Our teams moved at lightning speed to get Target up and running on Shipt’s platform in less than eight weeks,” said John Mulligan, Target COO. “And we’re not stopping there — we’ll keep expanding, with plans to offer Shipt’s services at nearly half our stores by the end of first quarter, and the majority of stores by the 2018 holiday season, making Target the first retailer to be able to offer same-day delivery in all major markets across the country.”
At the time of the acquisition, Target said that ownership of Birmingham-based Shipt “significantly accelerates” its own digital fulfillment efforts, as it already operated in 72 markets at that time and brought with it a proprietary technology platform and community of 20,000-plus personal shoppers. Target plans to have same-day delivery service in half of its stores early this year, with most stores — and some stores in all major markets — offering the service by this year’s holiday season. Currently, the mass-merchandiser operates 1,834 stores in the United States.