Recently, Target Corp. published its 2021 earnings, in which it revealed that 95% of fourth-quarter sales were fulfilled by its stores. That included delivery to homes and pickup in store.
The reason for Target’s success is that it’s willing to invest in its stores, above and beyond anything else. Its peak-season preparation this year includes $50 million in employee salaries, 130,000 part-time employees and 500,000 hours of additional training. But something else is at play here, based on ingrained shopper behavior: the need for scheduling.
In last-mile delivery, customers want their orders within a specific window — not a vague “now” or “sometime tomorrow.” The common denominator of many of life’s activities is that they’re scheduled, and retailers must respond accordingly.
Target isn’t doubling down on in-store resources just to hand off a parcel to a delivery provider. It’s looking to take advantage of customers’ desire to schedule an order for when they want it — whether they’re receiving delivery or picking it up in store —at the time and hour of their choice. That’s why Target expects this year to have one of its biggest peak seasons in history.
Retailers need to ask the following questions: Is my buyer one to schedule their errands and lives? If so, do I offer a pickup service that allows them to do just that? Do I have stores with adequate parking and employee support that allow the customer to get through all of their errands?
There are several steps that retailers can take to prepare:
David Lynch is vice president of growth with WARP.
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