In December 2017 we learned that Target had acquired Shipt for $550m in order to let Target customers order groceries and other products online and have them shipped to their home addresses from nearby Target stores.
The goal of this acquisition is to allow Target to offer same day delivery from approximately half of its stores by mid-2018, adding even more stores by the holiday season.
Not all categories of products will be included but it will start with groceries, electronics and other household goods and plans to include all product groups by the end of 2019.
Today Bloomberg reported that Amazon is considering acquiring some of the properties left vacant by the recent bankruptcy of Toys R Us. There is no information on what exactly Amazon plans to do with these stores, but it could continue to expand its bricks and mortar store operations and expand its bookstores which also serve as retail outlets for its Echo devices.
Another possibility for Amazon is that the acquisition of more retail outlets would allow for a bigger network to place inventory closer to where shoppers live, and would allow faster delivery to ecommerce shoppers in more areas.
Amazon has already placed merchants under pressure with the amazing speed and success of its Prime delivery, and as Amazon’s advancement with drone deliveries continues, the competition to keep up with faster delivery times grows more fierce.
Amazon’s goal is to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can deliver packages to shoppers in under 30 minutes, and today it was reported that it has been granted a patent for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures, with the hope that this will help Amazon to figure out how drones will interact with customers who are in the vicinity of their doorsteps.
Walmart’s approach is slightly different, but equally important. Walmart announced that it is planning to put Fedex Office locations in 500 of its stores over a two year period. Not only will they provide the usual FedEx services, but Walmart customers can also have online orders that are being delivered by FedEx held at a Walmart store for pick up.
As big box retailers think or more ways to get products to our doorsteps in the quickest possible time, the shipping challenge continues for niche online stores to compete.