Over the summer, Target has been testing, in a limited market, its new Target Restock feature, which allows shoppers to order everyday essentials online and have them delivered the very next day. Originally only available to customers in Denver, Dallas-Forth Worth and Minneapolis, the service is now available to residents of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington D.C. / Baltimore and, in mid-October of this year, San Francisco. The testing must have gone well, because it it now being made available to over 70 million people across the United States.

Target doesn’t yet offer its customers the option to purchase fresh foods and perishables in this way, but most everything else can be ordered online. According to Target, the most popular items purchased during Target Restock’s trial period were on-the-go snacks, beverages, cereal, mac and cheese, and paper towels. There are some 15,000 items that can be ordered from Target online, including laundry detergent, cleaning products, diapers, beauty, health and personal care products and beverages. Any order placed before 2 in the afternoon from Monday to Friday are guaranteed to arrive the very next day.

The online ordering market has boomed in the last few years, and Target isn’t the only company that wants a share of the pie. Competition is fierce – quick delivery, good prices and availability are paramount to a business’ success. With Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods and Walmart’s grocery pick-up service (and rumors are that it’s moving towards not only home, but direct-to-your-refrigerator and freezer-delivery), everyone is scrambling to offer better, faster and more enticing ordering and delivery services.

Interestingly enough, Target’s delivery price (for a box of up to 45 pounds) is $4.99, whereas Amazon’s delivery price is $5.99 for its Prime Pantry deliveries. Target holds another advantage over the online retail giant: customers do not need to pay a membership fee to be able to order. Anyone can order from Target Restock for absolutely free (barring the price of groceries and delivery). That is an enticing prospect, and one that is strongly in Target’s favor.  And let’s keep in mind that Amazon does not deliver the next day, but two days after the order is placed (and then again, it’s not always on time).

Target delivery may be in its infancy, but it looks to me like they have a winning formula. Time will tell how well it does in a broader market.

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