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Target aims for a seamless holiday season


Target has an aggressive new plan to lure shoppers this holiday season that includes free shipping on all orders and a new international website.

The plan is part of Target CEO Brian Cornell’s efforts to restructure the company and revamp its digital and in-store offerings. Free shipping starts Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 25.

“Target is starting the season with momentum in our business, anchored by increased store traffic and strength in our signature categories of baby, kids, style and wellness. The work we’ve done throughout the past year puts us in a position to deliver the convenient services and differentiated product our guests count on from Target, especially during the holidays,” Cornell said. “I’m confident that guests will find an easy, inspiring, and most importantly, seamless experience at Target no matter how they choose to shop.”

While Target is bringing back free shipping this Christmas, Walmart says it is sticking with its $50 minimum to qualify for free shipping during the holiday season. Best Buy has said it will waive its $35 free shipping threshold through early January.

Cornell announced earlier this year the company would invest $1 billion in supply chain and technology to create a channel-agnostic, customer-focused shopping experience. Now the retailer is introducing a slew of new digital initiatives just in time for the busy holiday season, including:

  • will now offer guests the ability to pay in almost 60 different currencies and have their orders shipped to themselves or to family and friends who live outside the U.S.

  • Curbside pickup service will expand from 21 to 121 Target stores.

  • Target is expanding its partnership with Instacart.

"We knew that we had a lot of guests outside the United States browsing our site, but until now they haven't been able to buy," Cornell told CNBC. While Target doesn't expect the effort to be a significant driver of business in the beginning, the retailer does expect to learn more about what shoppers outside the U.S. are looking for at Target, according to CNBC.

Target also plans to up its game when it comes to marketing this holiday season with new promotions:

  • Target plans to introduce The Holiday Odyssey, a digital storybook — narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, star of the stage and screen — that will come to life with moving pictures and digital interactions for families to enjoy together. Available for free at beginning Nov. 4, the story unfolds with three kids and the Target mascot, Bullseye, embarking on a holiday quest. Key moments from the story will be reflected in Target stores beginning Nov. 1, and via advertising, including 12 broadcast spots, beginning Nov. 4.

  • On Dec. 7, Target will unveil Target Wonderland, a 16,000 square foot retail spectacle in New York’s Meatpacking District.

Target also has plans to lure shoppers with discounts, including deals via its Cartwheel app and a new and expanded Price Match Policy.

Target has not yet revealed its plans for Black Friday Weekend.

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