Target Takes on Amazon, Walmart With Free Two-Day Shipping for Holidays

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Target is upping the ante in its battle with Amazon and Walmart in a battle for US online shoppers during what promises to be one of the most robust holiday shopping seasons in years.

Blowing past the enticements offered by both Walmart and Amazon, Target announced that it plans to offer free two-day shipping on online orders for thousands of items, from November 1 through December 22—without requiring a minimum purchase or membership.

That is a big improvement on Target’s earlier offer: free shipping if shoppers spent $35 online or used a Target loyalty card. Walmart offers free two-day shipping on orders of $35 and up, while Amazon offers the services to customers who pay $119 a year for a Prime membership that also includes proprietary video series and other components. Target

Target said it will continue converting its stores into mini-distribution centers, cutting the cost of shipping online to consumers. Target now fulfills about half of its digital orders from its stores and plans to fulfill more than 90% of the two-day orders from its stores. “It’s stores that are enabling our digital growth and strategy,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said at a media event.

And Target is doubling down on this strategy to take fuller advantage of a brick-and-mortar footprint that Amazon simply doesn’t have. This holiday season, Target is expanding its “Drive Up” service to nearly 1,000 stores, where shoppers can place their orders online and have them brought directly to their cars at curbside.

Target also continues to offer same-day, personal-shopper selection and delivery by Shipt for $99, and it will now be available nationwide.

Target

Cornell not long ago noted that the US consumer economy was about as good as it’s ever been. Now, he also sees an opportunity for Target to pick up market share from defunct retailer Toys ‘R Us and embattled Sears.

“I have never felt better about our position and our readiness to deliver against the holiday season,” he said at the media event. “As those [Toys ‘R Us and Sears] stores close, it’s real market share that’s up for grabs.”

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