Target said on Wednesday that between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21, it's offering free shipping "on hundreds of thousands of items" available for the holidays, with orders arriving as early as the next day. No minimum purchase or membership is required, according to a company press release.
The mass merchant will spend almost $50 million more than last year on payroll to "make more skilled team members available" to assist shoppers during peak holiday hours, the company also said. That includes doubling the number of employees dedicated to fulfillment, which will enable the retailer to get customers their orders "in as soon as an hour."
Target has been building out its popular buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) offerings, same-day delivery with Shipt (where items are "delivered in as soon as an hour" via 1,500 stores in 48 states) and free shipping on online orders for RedCard holders.
Amazon may be well poised to capture holiday consumers' attention, at least among Prime members, including those who say they're regular Target shoppers.
Eighty-eight percent of Amazon Prime members plan to buy on Amazon, compared to about 65.4% of non-Prime members — and 31.8% of those are switching from Target, according to a Coresight Research report last month. Those analysts also found that nearly 52% of respondents said they're switching from Walmart to Amazon, 23.3% from Best Buy and 20.1% from Kohl's.
But that won't actually happen if Target has anything to say about it.
Target has leveraged something that Amazon, at least for the moment, doesn't have beyond its Whole Foods grocery chain and a few other branded locations — stores. When it comes to convenience, which analysts say will be top of mind for holiday shoppers this year, Target has revamped many of its brick and mortar locations to be easier and more appealing to shop in, and opened several smaller locations to be convenient for city dwellers and college students.
In addition, Target is calling attention to its merchandise, with an expanded selection of "more than 10,000 new and exclusive toys," a reprise of its "Wondershop," a sort of holiday pop-up available in store and online, a curated gift assortment where most items are under $15, its many private labels in several categories, and partnerships with big names like Disney and Levi's.
That merchandising prowess has led some experts to compare Target to a new sort of department store. Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement on Wednesday that the company's "strategy is paying off."
"Last year was our most successful holiday in more than a decade, and that momentum has continued with industry-leading results throughout 2019," he said.