Target (NYSE:TGT) is pulling out all the stops this holiday season.
The big-box chain known for its cheap-chic style comes into the holiday season with more momentum than it's had in over a decade. In the third quarter, comparable sales increased 5.1% and digital sales jumped 49%, as the company's strategy is resonating with customers both online and in stores. Management also said it gained market share in all five of its core merchandising categories.
Before the holiday season even kicked off, Target made a major play for online shoppers, offering free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items with no minimum order or membership fee from Nov. 1 to Dec. 22, a move that prompted Amazon.com to follow suit, waiving its normal $25 minimum order fee for non-Prime members. Amazon, however, is not offering two-day shipping, instead saying orders will arrive in five to eight days.
Target also rolled out at a revamped toys department with an eye on taking market share following Toys "R" Us' bankruptcy. The retailer has opened up 250,000 square feet of new space in 500 stores for toys, offering interactive experiences such as meeting characters from kids' favorite shows and games, and added 2,500 new and exclusive toys. The company has also remodeled its toy department in 100 stores, with features such as a 3-foot Lego slide and interactive activity wall.
Beyond those initiatives, Target has big plans for the Black Friday weekend.
The Black Friday bonanza
Target offered pre-Black Friday sales from Nov. 18 to Nov. 21 both in stores and online, including:
Extra 15% off TVs on Nov. 18 only.
$100 off the Xbox One X.
$100 off the PlayStation4 1 TB Spider-Man Bundle. Includes a console, one controller, and the game. This is the same price you'll see on Black Friday.
- A $300 Target gift card when you buy a Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+, with qualified activation required.
- A $200 Target gift card when you buy a Google Pixel 3 or 3XL, again with qualified activation required. This is the same deal you'll see on Black Friday.
- 20% off family and kids' games.
- 15% off PJ Masks Romeo's Lab playset.
- A free $10 Target gift card with any Lego toys purchase of $50 or more.
- An HP X360 convertible touchscreen Chromebook for $199 ($100 off).
- A Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch 16GB tablet for $159.99 ($120 off).
And plenty of similar deals as well.
Target will be open from 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to 1 a.m. the next morning and will then reopen on Friday at 7 a.m. Target REDcard holders will have early access to Black Friday deals, starting on Wednesday, including deals on SmartTV's, the Fitbit Versa Smartwatch, Instant Pots, and Apple products, some of which come with Target gift cards. You can see all the deals in Target's Black Friday circular. Again, these deals are available both online and in stores.
In addition to all the discounts on the usual doorbuster items, Target is also offering a 20%-off coupon for a future trip for shoppers who spend $50 or more at Target or who scan the wallet feature in the Target app in stores. Target employees will also have handheld scanners to check out shoppers easily without having to wait for a register, and the retailer is promising more deals for Cyber Week, starting on Sunday, with an extra 15% off on top gifts such as a Swagtron Metro Hoverboard and an iRobot Roomba.
Unlike in past years, Target is aiming to separate itself from the competition by promising the broadest range of fulfillment options of any retailer, including same-day delivery with Shipt, in-store pickup, Drive Up service allowing customers to get orders loaded into their cars, same-day delivery from the store in select urban locations, and Target Restock for next-day delivery of staples such as paper towels and diapers.
One thing is clear for Target this holiday season: With consumer confidence near an all-time high, strong sales growth momentum coming into the key shopping season, and an aggressive plan to win shoppers with free shipping and in easy in-store pickup options, the retailer looks set for its best holiday season yet.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.