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Target expands online shopping feature that’s popular with parents

Home delivery for online orders is all well and good, but some folks prefer to drop by a store at a time of their choosing and pick up their items there instead.

In a bid to improve its own online shopping operation, Target this week announced an expansion to all 50 states of Drive Up, its curbside pickup service for online orders.

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Drive Up lets you shop online before collecting your order from a Target worker at a designated parking spot at the store — without you having to exit your vehicle.

After selecting Drive Up at checkout, the app will notify you when your order is ready for pickup, often within an hour. As you set off toward the store, you send Target an alert to let the Drive Up team know you’re on your way. You’ll then be notified of a designated parking spot where you’ll be handed your order.

Target notes how the service is particularly popular with parents, which is understandable if there are kids in the back as it means they don’t have to waste time shepherding potentially boisterous littl’uns through the store to collect their order.

The retail giant hopes to tempt customers into using Drive Up with the occasional offering of a free product sample when you turn up to collect your order.

Target trialed Drive Up at a limited number of stores in 2017 before launching it officially in more locations the following year. The service is now offered at 1,750 of its stores nationwide, meaning the retailer only needs to expand Drive Up to another 100 stores to have all of its locations covered.

Target is of course competing with others for convenient order collection. Walmart Grocery, for example, offers curbside pickup at several thousand of its stores. For Amazon, however, this is a weak point as it doesn’t have a meaningful presence when it comes to physical sites. Feeling the pressure, the ecommerce giant recently announced it’s teaming up with drugstore chain Rite Aid to offer in-store pickup at 1,500 of its stores before the end of 2019 — a step in the right direction though not as convenient as curbside pickup.

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