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Target rolls out drive-up returns

Target customer cars
Target is accepting returns from customer cars.

Target is adding a significant new feature to its Drive Up curbside service.

Following a successful pilot launched in February 2022, Target will begin enabling customers to make drive-up product returns at its stores this spring, with plans to offer the service at all of its nearly 2,000 U.S. stores by the end of summer 2023.

Through the drive-up returns offering, customers can return most new, unopened items within 90 days of purchase, and within up to a year for Target-owned brands, for free. Target debuted its Drive Up curbside pickup in October 2017 and expanded the service in August 2018, before beginning widespread rollout in April 2019.

How it works

Customers start a curbside return from the order details section of the Target app and select Drive Up return. They then notify the retailer via app when they’re on their way to the selected store. Upon arrival, customers pull into a Drive Up spot and tap “I’m here” in the app.

After handing the return off to the store associate who comes to their car, the customer will get a return confirmation via email and in the app. Refunds are given in the original form of payment.

Target expands omnichannel services at stores

Target has been adding new features to its drive-up, order pickup, and same-day delivery services (which it offers via its online delivery subsidiary Shipt), in the past couple of years. In fall 2022, the company expanded a pilot that lets customers place Starbucks orders with their curbside pickup purchases at select stores.

At the start of the 2021 holiday season, the retailer introduced “Shopping Partner,” which allows a customer to send someone to pick up an order in their place. Another option added at that time, “Forget Something,” will let customers place a new order at the same store after their initial order has been made in the Target app, and then obtain all their products at once.

And in May 2021, Target began making beer, wine, hard seltzers and other alcohol beverages available via order pickup and/or drive-up at more than 1,200 stores across the country and via same-day delivery with Shipt at more than 600 locations. The rollout followed successful pilots in California, Florida and South Dakota in 2020.

The discounter also recently said it will spend $100 million to expand its package-sorting network (dubbed sortation centers) to more than 15 facilities by the end of 2026. The expansion calls for the building of at least six new centers, which retrieve packages daily from range of 30 to 40 local stores for next-day delivery.

“Our journey to expand our fulfillment options starts with making it easier for our guests to shop with us,” said Mark Schindele, Target executive VP and chief stores officer. “That’s why we’re launching drive-up returns. Allowing our customers to process a return from the comfort of their car underscores our commitment to helping our customers shop — and return — however they choose.”

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