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Target to Offer Free Shipping During the Holidays

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Target logoRetail chain Target will offer free shipping for online holiday shoppers from Nov. 1 through Dec. 23, with no minimum purchase required, it announced Monday, further pressuring online merchants to offer free shipping.

Target is kicking off a holiday multi-media marketing campaign on November 1st that will include broadcast, in-store marketing, and catalogs. Target is also offering a curated gifting assortment of 1,700 products (most priced at under $15) that will be featured prominently both in stores and online. The items range from slippers, jewelry, toys and stationery to tech accessories, games, grooming and barware sets and more. Shoppers will be able to find the curated collections on the new Target.com gifting hub.

New this year, Target will introduce Weekend Deals that will run Saturdays and Sundays beginning Nov. 11, and it said eight of its more than 12 new exclusive brands will be available for the first time this holiday season.

For online shoppers, Target will offer a new “GiftNow” feature on Target.com. The retailer explained, “You’ll be able to choose from thousands of gifts and click the “GiftNow” button, then check out as usual. Your friend will receive an e-gift email that lets her accept the gift, change the color or size, or pick out something entirely different – all before the item ships.” Also compelling for online shoppers, Target offers buy online, pick up in store.

Press release follows:

Target Corporation today unveiled its plans for the holidays, including new brands, thousands of exclusive gifts under $15, easy and convenient ways to shop and save, and festive in-store experiences.

“While there’s an incredible amount of change happening across retail, we’re focused on doing what’s best for our guest and leaning into what makes Target special, particularly during the holidays,” said Target CEO and Chairman Brian Cornell. “We’re making progress against our long-term strategy and entering the season with momentum. Our team of more than 400,000 is ready to deliver joy to our guests all season long with more new and exclusive brands than ever, thousands of unique gifts at a great value, faster and more convenient ways to shop and save, and engaging holiday experiences in our stores across the country.”

Target previously shared that it is reimagining its brand portfolio with the introduction of more than 12 new exclusive brands by the end of 2018. Eight of those brands—spanning baby, kids, women and men’s apparel and accessories and home—will be available for the first time this holiday season, offering guests unprecedented style and value. Most recently, Target introduced Project 62, A New Day, Goodfellow and JoyLab, and on Nov. 5, it will unveil the much-anticipated Hearth & Hand with Magnolia. Co-designed with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Hearth & Hand with Magnolia features 300 products, most for under $30, including tabletop, home décor and giftables, like a toy dollhouse and workbench, a letters to Santa mailbox, festive tableware and more. The collaboration with Target marks the couple’s first time creating product with a retailer.

This year, Target has taken the guesswork out of gifting so guests can feel confident they will find the perfect gift for everyone on their list. With the introduction of four special collections curated for women, men, kids and teens and featuring nearly 1,700 items, most of which are exclusive to Target and under $15, guests can save time and money as they check name after name off their shopping list. These holiday collections, with products ranging from grooming sets for him, stationery for her and hundreds of stocking stuffers for only $1, will be prominently displayed in the main aisles and key departments of Target stores, as well as a dedicated experience on Target.com.

To make gift-giving even more foolproof, Target is introducing GiftNow on Target.com. This service allows gift givers to click the GiftNow button on products on Target.com and send an e-gift box, which allows the recipient to accept the gift, change the color or size, or choose something entirely different, all before anything ships. Thousands of gifts are available through GiftNow, making it an easy choice, especially for last-minute shoppers.

Target also is expanding its popular Wondershop seasonal brand, which was introduced in 2016. Wondershop features everything guests need to trim their tree and more, and this year will expand to include specialty food gifts and snacks, like caramel popcorn, flavored coffees, gourmet nuts and chocolate truffles.

In addition, guests will find new and exclusive items across Target’s multi-category assortment. Popular items in toys, electronics and entertainment include:

– More than 1,400 new and exclusive toys from sought-after national, specialty and owned brands, including Hatchimals Surprise and L.O.L Surprise! Big Surprise.

– More than 70 exclusive board games, like Bob Ross: The Art of Chill, licensed products from PAW Patrol and Netflix’s Beat BugsTM, and a robust assortment of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” products.

– The most in-demand video game consoles, like Nintendo Switch and a new Target-exclusive Xbox One S Minecraft bundle, plus popular video games, like Super Mario Odyssey.

– An assortment of the newest voice-activated speakers, including, Google Mini and Fabriq.

– The latest suite of Apple products, including iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple 4K TV.

– An expanded assortment of wearable technology and accessories from brands like Apple, Fitbit, UNICEF Kid Power Band and Marc Jacobs.

– Two exclusive collectible magazines with Taylor Swift’s new album, reputation.

Ease and Convenience
Based on their preference, guests can choose a number of ways to shop at Target this holiday season. This includes visiting one of the retailer’s more than 1,800 stores, to ordering online for delivery from Target.com, to Order Pickup, where 95 percent of online orders are ready for pickup at a store within one hour. The retailer also recently launched Target Restock, which currently offers next-day essentials delivery in 11 major markets and will expand nationwide in 2018, and introduced Drive Up service at stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Offering additional convenience, in November, the retailer will introduce a new mobile wallet function in the Target app. This will allow REDcard holders to pay for their store purchases and redeem Cartwheel offers, all with the scan of their phone. Also in time for the holidays, Target has increased the number of stores that ship online orders to guests’ homes to more than 1,400, making the delivery process faster and more efficient for guests. In addition, Target.com will offer Free Ship to all guests beginning Nov. 1, with no minimum purchase required.

Bringing it all to life is Target’s team. As previously announced, the retailer is hiring approximately 100,000 seasonal team members. As outlined at its Financial Community Day meeting in February, Target is investing in its team by allocating millions of payroll hours throughout 2017 for increased training and staffing at its stores across the country. These additional payroll hours are helping Target create an expert salesforce, particularly in key departments like apparel, electronics, beauty and food and beverage, and ensure quality guest service, particularly during peak periods of increased traffic, such as weekends and the holiday season.

Value and Experience
Throughout the season, guests can rely on Target to be priced right daily, while offering additional opportunities to save big, which will be highlighted in the retailer’s Weekly Ad and available via Cartwheel. New this year, Target will introduce Weekend Deals, timed to align with the purchases guests are making while stocking up on everyday essentials and holiday must-haves. Weekend Deals will run Saturdays and Sundays, beginning Nov. 11. Specific deals will be shared at a later time.

In addition to saving on the weekends, Target will deliver more joy to guests this season through engaging in-store experiences aimed at bringing #TargetFun to holiday shopping. For example, most stores will offer a photo booth that puts a Target twist on a traditional photo with Santa throughout the month of December. Guests can snap a picture in the photo booth, created to look like an upside-down fireplace built with LEGO bricks, then rotate the image and see themselves sliding down the chimney with Santa. Also on weekends in December, guests can sample holiday treats, participate in interactive demonstrations featuring top toys, a Star Wars event and more at select stores.

Bringing the wonder of the season together, Target will debut its holiday marketing campaign, “Together’s the Joy,” on Nov. 1. The campaign theme was developed from the guest insight that while everyone celebrates the holidays in a unique way, seeking joyful moments with those who matter most is universal. From broadcast and in-store marketing to inspirational catalogs for kids and adults and custom media integrations, guests will experience a memorable multi-media campaign from Target this season.

SOURCE: Target Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.