- Target announced on Monday that it’s expanding the number of stores that will fulfill online alcohol orders after launching a pilot last year.
- By the end of May, more than 1,200 stores across 29 states will offer alcohol pickup and more than 600 stores will offer same-day delivery of adult beverages via Shipt where allowed by local laws.
- As Target, like many retailers, sees alcohol sales pour in during the pandemic, making the category more widely available for online orders can streamline shopping for customers and boost the size of their digital baskets.
Target certainly isn't the first retailer to expand its online alcohol service. But given how its large customer base has increasingly turned to its stores and online platforms for one-stop shopping, the move stands to pay off in terms of deeper loyalty and larger tickets.
The expansion of Target’s alcohol e-commerce follows the retailer’s pilots in Florida, California and South Dakota last year, which helped drive more than 450% digital growth in the category last year, Target said in the announcement.
Target did not specify which states it will soon offer alcohol pickup and delivery in, telling customers to check availability online. While laws about alcohol sales vary from state to state, the pandemic has generally prompted lawmakers to loosen regulations. For example, Georgia started allowing home delivery of alcohol last year.
When placing alcohol orders online, customers will be prompted to add their date of birth and will then need to show identification verifying they are age 21 or older when they receive their pickup or delivery order.
As its pilot programs progressed last year, Target added features like letting customers specify where they want pickup orders placed in their vehicles and allowing them to assign an alternate person to pick up orders, John Mulligan, Target’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call in March.
Target has been working to streamline its e-commerce experience and expand into new categories. Along with the alcohol pilot, the company added apparel to Shipt delivery last year and added fresh and frozen grocery to its pickup services. With more categories available online, customers can place larger online orders and consolidate trips.
Grocers ranging from national chains like Kroger to regional chains like Giant Eagle have added online alcohol ordering in recent years, and the pandemic has fueled retailers' efforts to expand where they can and push for streamlined regulations elsewhere. According to IWSR, which tracks alcohol spending globally, e-commerce alcohol sales rose 42% in 2020 to reach $24 billion.