Target to offer free shipping
Hoping to win back customers after a dismal 2013 holiday shopping season, Target announced Wednesday that it would offer free shipping on all online purchases from now through Dec. 20.
Target’s move aims to wring more money out of its e-commerce division by reducing shopping cart abandonment — when online customers fill up their digital shopping carts and then get cold feet about making the purchase. By some estimates, shoppers abandon their carts at a rate of greater than 60 percent.
By offering free shipping, Target wants to eliminate surprise costs during checkout that might make customers rethink their purchase.
Target also hopes to attract online shoppers with its store pick-up option, which allows customers to buy an item online and retrieve at a local brick-and-mortar location. Target says 65,000 items will be available for purchase this way this holiday season and that 80 percent of orders placed this way are filled in an hour. That allows Target to lure online shoppers with the option of picking up their online order well after many retailers’ shipping deadlines for the holidays have passed.
Target four months incentive
The incentive comes four months after Target unveiled a permanent free shipping offer for those spending at least $50 online, a strategy the company said has had strong reception.
The free shipping holiday incentive is one of a number of enticements that Target is pushing, from more trendy merchandise to spiffed up apps, to win back consumers as it deals with its own problems as well as industry-wide challenges.
Target plans for online shoppers
Mobile shoppers will be especially critical to Target, as the company says it expects 75 percent of its digital traffic to come from smartphones and tablets this holiday season. To cater to them, the retailer plans to upgrade its Cartwheel daily deals app to provide special offers for top users.
Target also plans to add a Wish list app later this month that allows kids to build digital Christmas lists that parents can easily share with friends and family.
Ever since Target revealed last December that a cyberattack exposed the credit card data of 40 million of its shoppers, the retailer has been struggling to regain its footing. Sales took a dive immediately after the breach was announced and were flat in the retail giant’s most recent quarter.
Target’s new chief executive, Brian Cornell, said in a company blog post Wednesday that “our own data shows that our guests have moved on and, as such, we’re approaching this holiday season ready to turn the page and focus on delivering for our guests.”
While the breach may be in the rearview mirror, Target has been challenged by price-conscious consumers still cautious about opening their wallets even as the economy improves.
Source updated Washingtonpost