Does any retailer do curbside service better than Target?

Discussion
Photo: Target
Feb 24, 2022

Target has been clear that it wants to be known as the easiest place to shop in retail. Its Drive Up service has been a big part of that, and it may get even bigger as Target tests a convenience that will let customers pick up their Starbucks orders and return items in select markets without having to get out of their cars.

The retailer is also expanding its “backup item” functionality to enable customers the means to substitute items should their first choice not be in stock.

“Our guests 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,” said Mark Schindele, Target’s chief stores officer, in a press release. “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. 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 surveyed Drive Up customers to discover what they would like to see in the service. The number one answer was being able to get their orders from Starbucks shops inside of the retailer’s stores.

Ordering from Starbucks or starting a return works the same as placing a Drive Up order. Everything goes through Target’s app.

The new services being tested follow other add-ons that Target has made, including options to pick up adult beverages, enable another person to make the pickup in place of the customer who ordered it and the “forgot something” feature that lets customs add items to previous orders for pickup via Drive Up or in-store.

Target COO John Mulligan indicated last November on the chain’s third quarter earnings call that 2022 would be a big year for Drive Up. The chain is adding thousands of items to the list of products available through the service and doubling the number of pickup stalls in store lots.

The retailer reported that sales through Drive Up jumped 80 percent in the third quarter, and that was up against a 500 percent increase during the same period in 2020. Drive Up generated $1.4 billion in sales during the quarter, according to Mr. Mulligan.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect service enhancements like Starbucks ordering and item returns to draw new customers to Target’s Drive Up service? How does Target’s Drive Up compare to other curbside services offered by retailers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"They certainly set the standard for curbside pickup execution, and their results are their reward."
"This move is strategic and relevant in meeting their loyal customers where and how they want to engage with the brand."
"It appears Target is out-maneuvering both Walmart and Amazon on this one."

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21 Comments on "Does any retailer do curbside service better than Target?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Target has been a leader in BOPIS and curbside even before the pandemic. And like most leaders, they continue to expand and refine their Drive Up services. Adding Starbucks orders and returns is interesting and, while it’s hard to say if these will attract new customers, it will certainly be a benefit for existing customers. Target has made curbside a competitive advantage and, as the pandemic has taught us, this is a huge advantage.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

Once again, Target is raising the bar on last-mile services. They certainly set the standard for curbside pickup execution, and their results are their reward. Bringing Starbucks to the curb is a brilliant traffic-building idea, and adding returns to the menu only increases their competitive advantage with still greater convenience. I hope they find a way to offer impulse purchases at the curb next!

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Customers have always demanded, and rewarded, customer service. It’s one of the simple basics of retail. Target is teaching the rest of the retail community what great customer service looks like in 2022 and beyond. It’s a simple concept that now has a lot more moving parts and complexity than it did a few short years ago. Target keeps raising the bar and the rest of retail struggles to keep up.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Target is a leader in retail and the top player in seeking out the best partnerships. This move is strategic and relevant in meeting their loyal customers where and how they want to engage with the brand. No other retailer can compare.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust
Restaurants are really leading the retail pack in technology innovation. Almost every restaurant POS system is cloud-based so, they can tightly integrate the online and in-store experience. They’re able to parse the transaction, take the order and payment online and route the transaction directly to the kitchen for execution, bypassing the front end. This sophistication has been in place for some years and has matured to the point where their BOPIS and BOPAC service is superior to most retail stores, hands down. Chick-fil-A, for example, has nailed the curbside pickup in every respect. Their rewards program is generous enough to push customers to mobile ordering. And the curbside UX is well thought out: order, arrive, enter the parking spot number. Every order I’ve placed has shown up at my car within three minutes. Target is getting it right, too. At the Target store nearest to me, they added several Drive Up spots already. The Starbucks pickup option will be huge. That could present Target with a tough decision about how many spots it can allocate… Read more »
Brian Delp
BrainTrust
5 months 24 days ago

There’s no greater curb than your own front door. Although this will certainly add another feather in Target’s convenience cap, home/last-mile delivery and returns from home should be the biggest area of focus. Even something as simple as how Walmart will schedule a package pickup for your returns versus Target requiring you to drop off at a delivery location makes a significant difference.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Target has serious curb appeal. Adding Starbucks ordering and returns to its curbside service will attract new customers to Target for ease, convenience and liquid joy.

Target’s Drive Up service offers a seamless, personalized omnichannel experience. During lockdowns, Target stood out by texting shoppers when it was their turn to enter the store. That thoughtful process differentiated Target and helped shoppers feel safe and cared for.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

While I am still wondering why I would order from Starbucks at Target, “item returns” at the Drive Up location sounds like a good addition to a range of services retailers can offer.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Personal note: my Starbucks these days has a line of cars around the block. That’s because they have a very linear process. people order, then wait at the window for their order to be made. If I could pre-order and have them bring it out when I drive up, that would solve that problem. Target’s Drive Up sort of serves as an intermediary.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

This is another smart play by Target to keep things convenient. I’d like to see Target and Starbucks combine their loyalty programs like Ulta and Target have so that both brands get credit and data for the purchase.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Target’s Drive Up service has been head and shoulders above their competition in this space. I do think it’s become a differentiator for Target. At Target I create an order, pay and it’s ready for pickup with in two hours, usually less than one. Their competition requires an appointment for pickup that’s typically the next day or two days later. Not really optimal. They’re winning at drive up and I’m glad to see it’s paying off for them.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Target was doing curbside pickup long before the pandemic hit; it was well ahead of its time. During the pandemic demand for omnichannel services has soared and Target has adapted by adding capacity and capability, which ensured customer satisfaction has remained high. Adding Starbucks and returns is a logical next step and keeps Target ahead of the game.

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust

While the curbside channel is still not a material part of the retailer’s turnover, this offering says more about the Target brand, its values and customer focus than about its dedication to curbside. It is a great message – customers being listened to and the retailer shaping their offering around it. To select one area of retail and make it your own is clever as it is a great PR vehicle creating a real unique selling proposition when it is so difficult to do so in many other areas.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

No one seems to upstage Target. If others would imitate them, there would be more happy customers on their curbs. Why is this difficult?

Raj B. Shroff
BrainTrust

Great question.

Raj B. Shroff
BrainTrust

I think the service enhancements will make Drive Up more appealing to existing Target shoppers. I think other things they do in aggregate help them gain more customers.
Target is head and shoulders above the rest. Now they have to get the parking lot fixed and make sure in-store shoppers aren’t robbed of precious parking spots by Drive Up. Lots of exciting opportunity to rethink exteriors in tandem with landlords.

Brent Biddulph
BrainTrust

It appears Target is out-maneuvering both Walmart and Amazon on this one. Amazon still without brick and mortar scale, and Walmart rightly focused on efficiency, yet missing opportunities for improved CX at curb-side pick-up.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

During the pandemic, many people asked if retailers putting too much faith in curbside pickup would eat away at in-store purchases versus regular BOPIS since customers would no longer be entering the store and be tempted by a new purchase. Target has taken a different perspective and is slowly but surely turning curbside into a true extension of the store itself. By adding Starbucks and returns to the curbside service, Target makes the overall experience look more and more equivalent to entering the store. That is truly making them the easiest place to shop and sets a high bar for curbside service for other retailers to meet.

Are other retailers doing as good a job as Target? Yes — there are some, like Best Buy, for example, that also deliver a great curbside experience. But Target is smartly leveraging the popularity of their Drive Up service to extend how much and how often customers shop with them.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Certain stores, such as Lowes and Home Depot, have done a great job in managing curbside by integrating this with their returns and customer service functions in the store. Entire sections are dedicated to the task, with multiple stations. Although customers will still come into the stores for returns management, expectations are they have to go through only a few steps to complete a return and pick up their candy bar or bottle of soda on the way out. The processes designed are typically short and sweet — making it a satisfactory customer experience.

The advantages Target provides are still a test. They’re not revolutionary, and more important, the rest of the retail market can adopt “drive-up” fairly quickly if it takes off. The point is that it’s not a major step ahead of the market, but an incremental change to the concept of curbside pickup. The customer in the store will continue to be an important factor for all retailers, What will be interesting is the merging of curbside/in-store to count footfall in the future.

Brad Halverson
Guest

No doubt Target is making their brand known well beyond having good merchandise and value. They are flat out innovating, using technology to remove good experience barriers. They are thinking of the customer journey first.

In grocery, one equivalent just might be Hy-Vee. They’ve invested in similar innovation these last few years, with food holding lockers for pick-up, covered curbside drive up lanes, BOPIS and a mix of other tactics. They use mobile platforms to communicate with customers every step of the way. They are thinking like the customer.

Katie Boschele
Guest

I was excited when I saw that Target was adding Starbucks delivery to its curbside appeal. I immediately texted all my friends. This is just another example of Target setting itself apart from other retailers doing curbside pickup.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"They certainly set the standard for curbside pickup execution, and their results are their reward."
"This move is strategic and relevant in meeting their loyal customers where and how they want to engage with the brand."
"It appears Target is out-maneuvering both Walmart and Amazon on this one."

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