Target’s Secret Weapon in Amazon Battle: In-Store Pickup

January 10, 2019, 1:55 PM UTC

Target is leaning on yet another way to fend off Amazon: in-store pickup.

In a statement on Thursday, Target revealed that its in-store and curbside pickup services jumped 60% year over year in November and December and combined to account for 25% of the company’s total sales during the period. For the full year of 2018, Target’s digital sales grew more than 25%—the fifth year in a row the company has tallied that growth in digital.

Target’s in-store and curbside pickup services allow customers to go to its website either from a smartphone or in the browser and order products. They can then drive to their local stores and pick up their products. In-store pickup requires them to walk inside the store and curbside pick-up means store employees will bring the products customers ordered to their vehicles.

The data suggests Target’s ability to compete with Amazon, which continues to grow in leaps and bounds in online stores, could hinge on stores. In a statement, Target CEO Brian Cornell said that his company’s performance during the critical holiday shopping season “demonstrates the benefit of placing our stores at the center of every way we serve our guests, including both in-store shopping and digital fulfillment.”

All told, Target said that its comparable sales during the period were up 5.7% compared to November/December 2017. The company affirmed its fourth-quarter and full-year guidance and says it expects adjusted earnings per share of $5.30 to $5.50.