Target offers free drive-up returns

While other retailers are charging for returns, Target is offering shoppers a new and free way to return unwanted products.
A person in a car holds a phone with Target's drive up return interface.
  • Target will offer free drive-up returns. 
  • The service is an extension of Target’s drive-up pickups, launched nationwide in 2019. 
  • The service will work on purchases linked to a shopper’s account. 

Target will offer shoppers free drive-up returns at all its stores nationwide by the end of summer. 

The retailer in an April 28 release says its new Returns with Drive Up option has rolled out at more than 500 Target locations in the U.S. with plans to launch the service in  the rest of its around 2,000 stores in the coming months. 

The drive-up returns service is an extension of Target’s existing Drive Up program, which was first launched in 2017 and allows customers to pick up digital orders at stores without exiting their vehicles.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Drive-up returns are only available to shoppers who made the purchase through their account. 
  • These purchases can be made digitally, through Target’s website or app, or linked during checkout at a brick-and-mortar Target store. 
  • When drive-up returns are available at a store, Target shoppers can select that option in the Target app when reviewing options to make a return. 
  • Consumers will use the Target app to indicate when they’re on the way to the store.
  • At the store, shoppers making a return can park in a spot reserved for drive-up orders and use the Target app to alert store employees they’ve arrived. 

Target’s Drive Up options rolled out nationally in 2019. The retailer added groceries to the service during the COVID-19 pandemic when online grocery sales surged. Target added alcohol purchase service to Drive Up in 2021. 

The move to expand return options comes as retailers look for new ways to tackle growing headaches and costs associated with returns. According to a 2022 survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Appriss Retail, the average retailer incurs $165 million in returns for every $1 billion in sales.

Several retailers have started charging for some returns. As Retail Leader previously reported, Amazon last month said it would start charging for some returns. Other retailers that have experimented with charging customers for making returns in certain circumstances include apparel retailers such as H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch and TJ Maxx.