Exclusive Q&A: Shipt Driven manages last mile for Best Buy deliveries

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture

Retailers including Best Buy support proprietary same-day delivery programs with the Shipt Driven service.

Chain Store Age recently interviewed Rina Hurst, chief business strategy officer at Target-owned online delivery platform Shipt, about its Shipt Driven offering. Used by retailers including Best Buy, Shipt Driven provides last-mile fulfillment for same-day delivery services.

What is Shipt Driven and why did you launch it?
Shipt Driven is a delivery-only, last-mile service for retailers, one that allows retailers the opportunity to offer the convenience of same-day delivery to customers ordering directly from their own websites.

While Shipt has quietly been perfecting a last-mile solution with limited partners since 2017, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increased demand for the service that led us to rapidly scale and introduce Shipt Driven as an expanded offering. We built an entire new team dedicated to supporting Shipt Driven and our retail partners who use the service. This delivery-only service grew by more than 240% this year, including a 40% increase in the number of retail partners leveraging this option. 

Here’s how Shipt Driven works: Customers place an order directly through the retailer and select their desired delivery speed, including scheduling the delivery within a one-hour window for the same day or a future day. The retailer then uses their own team to pick the goods, and a Shipt shopper retrieves the order and delivers it during the timeframe the customer requested. The same dedicated Shipt shoppers who both shop and deliver orders placed on Shipt’s marketplace also deliver Shipt Driven orders.

What made Best Buy decide to pilot Shipt Driven in Sept. 2020?
While we certainly can’t speak on behalf of them, we know that Shipt Driven offered a convenient, reliable same-day delivery solution for customers ordering directly from the Best Buy website – and a way for Best Buy to help meet an influx of delivery needs. Retail partners appreciate knowing that we have the ability to offer seamless technical integration and on-time delivery, combined with shoppers who are known for going above and beyond. Shipt’s commitment to service combines with speed, reliability, and our ability to flex during peak seasons. 

Customers have turned to delivery more than ever during the pandemic, and we worked with Best Buy to ensure everything from laptops to hoverboards could get into the hands of their customers even more quickly as the holidays approached.

What were the results of the pilot?
Best Buy initially launched with Shipt Driven in one metro area this past September - but quickly expanded to most of the country after seeing much success. We received feedback from Best Buy that our on-time performance, attention to detail, and customer service set the bar high for everyone that delivers. Today we are delivering orders from nearly 6,000 Best Buy stores nationwide.

What are unique challenges last-mile delivery poses to retailers?
Giving customers more options for how to buy, and how to get the items they want is critical for retailers.  We know retailers right now are facing an influx of delivery demands amidst constraints from carriers – and same-day, last-mile delivery is an important part of their fulfillment offerings. 

We often hear from retailers the importance of both a simple integration process and a seamless extension of their brand promise, which are things we prioritized with Shipt Driven. Other retailers leveraging Shipt Driven include Party City, Office Depot, CVS Pharmacy, Kroger, Bed Bath & Beyond, and buy buy Baby.