Target doubles down on curbside pickup

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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Target is giving curbside pickup another go after abandoning the program in 2016.

The retailer is launching a new effort called "Drive Up," which will bring orders straight to shoppers' cars after they ring up purchases through Target's app.

The way it works is shoppers tell their Target app, "I'm on My Way," when they're headed to the store. And designated parking spots at Target locations aim to make the loading of items by store employees more seamless.

"Drive Up" is currently being tested in 50 Target locations throughout Minnesota.

“Stopping for diapers and toilet paper may not be glamorous, but it’s still on a lot of our to-do lists,” said Dawn Block, Target senior vice president of digital. “Drive Up is our latest effort to make it easier and faster for busy guests to conveniently get what they need, and simply get back to their day.”

Target first partnered with San Francisco-based Curbside in 2014, testing pick-up in parking lots at 11 of its San Francisco-area stores. The pilot with Curbside was shut down in 2016.

After testing Drive Up among select Target team members this summer, Target says the free service is now available to guests at stores throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who use the latest version of the Target app on an iPhone. Through Drive Up, guests can shop nearly 200,000 eligible items—including home furnishings, toys, electronics, household essentials, non-perishable food, baby-care items and more.

Built in house by Target, the company says Drive Up is the latest example of Target using its stores as hubs to help guests shop Target on their own terms. It’s a test-and-learn program, so we’ll continue to fine-tune and enhance the experience, and will look to expand to more guests in the future.   

Target told CNBC that "Drive Up" is an example of the company using its stores as "hubs" — or last-mile destinations close to homes.

Target competitor Walmart has already added a curbside pick-up option to hundreds of its stores, choosing to market the service more around shoppers using it for fresh groceries. The pickup service has proven so popular with shoppers that the company can't expand the program fast enough.

For more about Target's new service, including a video on how it works, click here.