Target to test Starbucks orders, product returns at curbside

Target Drive up
Target will also test allowing customers to make product returns at curbside.

Target Corp. will test several new enhancements to its Drive Up curbside pickup service.

The discount giant will add an option to place Starbucks orders, as well as make a merchandise return, at its curbside pickup service at select locations this fall. The ability to place Starbucks orders during curbside pickup was a top request in a customer survey Target conducted.

When the new features become available, customers will indicate they’re “on their way” to the store via the Target app and will have the option to place an order from the Starbucks menu. Upon arrival, a Target Drive Up associate will deliver their full order to the customer’s car.

Similarly, for the return process, customers will be able to initiate a return via the Target app and complete it at the Drive Up lane.

In addition, the retailer will expand its “backup item” functionality in more product categories for curbside pickup. Customers will be able to select from a wider assortment of categories — including beauty and household essentials — to designate secondary backup items for their Drive Up and Order Pickup orders, in the event their first-choice items are unavailable.

In the months since the option initially rolled out for food and beverage orders, Target says it has successfully substituted backup items 98% of the time, including high-demand goods.

According to Target, the new Drive Up enhancements will build on its strategy of using its 2,000 stores as fulfillment hubs. As the company’s digital business has more than doubled during the last two years, order pickup, it says Drive Up and same-day delivery with Shipt have accounted for more than half of those sales.

[Read more: Target beats expectations; ready for holidays with inventory up nearly 20%]

Target has been adding new features to its drive-up, order pickup and same-day delivery services in the past year. 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 new option, “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.

“Our customers continue to tell us they love the ease and convenience of Drive Up, and they have been asking us to add even more of the Target experience to the service. Adding a Starbucks order and easy returns, while expanding our backup item options, will give guests even more of what they love about shopping at Target, quickly and easily,” said Mark Schindele, Target chief stores officer. “Ongoing investments in our same-day services have built trust and relevance with our guests, while meeting their needs — no matter how they choose to shop.”

Target has also tripled the number of store fulfillment experts it employs over the past two years, and has added backup training for all new store associates in same-day fulfillment.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. operates more than 1,900 stores and the e-commerce site.

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