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Target Plans to Test Drive-Up Alcohol Sales, Fresh Grocery Pickup

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 4, 2020 at 3:33PM

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The discount retailer continues to focus on making shopping as easy and frictionless as possible for its customers.

Target (TGT 2.46%) wants to make shopping at its brick-and-mortar stores even easier for people, and its drive-up and curbside pickup options have been major parts of that strategy. The retailer, however, only offers a limited selection of goods for drive-up, and customers have been asking for more, COO John J. Mulligan said during the chain's fourth-quarter earnings call.

"Time and time again, they tell us they love Drive-Up, but it sure would be nice to pull up for their order, and a gallon of milk, not to mention adult beverages," he said. "Whether it's a six-pack and chips on the way to a party or a bottle of wine to go with the box of diapers and crying kids in the back seat, our guests want that option."

A target employee loads an item into a car.

Target plans to expand its curbside pickup selection. image source: Target.

Give the people what they want

Offering fresh groceries for curbside pickup requires different logistics than selling items that don't require refrigeration. And selling alcohol that way comes with additional issues, including making sure the purchaser is 21, and ensuring that stores are following different states' and municipalities' varying laws.

Target, however, feels ready to deal with those problems, so it's beginning to test offering fresh groceries and alcohol pick-up. Mulligan detailed how the plan will roll out.

"We'll start in a few states and learn how to do it well before we scale fresh pickup to nearly half of our stores and take adult beverage to the majority of the chain, all by fourth quarter," he said.

These moves by Target are all about making customer convenience a greater priority, and the chain's results so far have demonstrated that's something consumers really want. Improving the curbside pickup selection should increase its sales, and could even help the company gain market share from less nimble rivals.

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