Shipt Names CTO as Target Looks to Grow Aggregator Presence

Shipt is expanding its c-suite as its parent company, Target, aims to grow its share of same-day delivery sales.

The grocery and retail delivery company announced Tuesday (Aug. 22) that it has expanded the role of Smrutha Ipparthi, previously chief product officer, to chief technology and product officer. The move comes as Shipt looks to improve the experience for users, as well as retail partners and shoppers, and to keep its technology competitive amid continued advancements.

“As we continue evolving Shipt as a leading technology retail brand, Smrutha’s ability to drive technological advancements that further cement Shipt’s status as an industry leader will be instrumental to our growth,” Shipt CEO Kamau Witherspoon said in a statement. “With a unique combination of expertise in eCommerce and operational excellence, as well as experience driving product innovation, we’re thrilled to see what our team will accomplish under her leadership.”

Same-day delivery represents a small but significant share of overall grocery and retail sales. Research from PYMNTS’ study late last year, “12 Months of the ConnectedEconomy™: 33,000 Consumers on Digital’s Role in Their Everyday Lives,” revealed that, by November, 41% of consumers reported that they had purchased groceries online for curbside pickup in the previous month, while only 34% said the same of same-day delivery aggregators.

Similarly, the study found that 50% of consumers made retail purchases online for delivery at a later date, and 39% did so for pickup, while only 30% did so for same-day delivery.

Still, in each of these categories, the share of consumers making same-day delivery purchases represents a significant opportunity, and Target, with Shipt, can gain share from, say, Instacart, and to grow overall same-day delivery adoption.

On a call with analysts Aug. 16 discussing the retailer’s second quarter financial results, Michael Fiddelke, Target’s executive vice president, CFO, noted a “favorable mix of same-day services within the digital channel.”

“We continue to see our guests turn to Target for same-day services, whether it’s drive-up or pickup or having something delivered to their home through Shipt,” Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell observed on the call.

These moves to boost Shipt’s competitive position come as rival Instacart looks to gain share, growing its presence not only in grocery but in retail overall, with non-food merchants such as Pet SmartSephoraBest Buy and more on its marketplace. The competition becomes all the more intense with Instacart reportedly gearing up for its initial public offering (IPO).

Plus, adding to the race for the quickest, most convenient fulfillment, Amazon is fulfilling orders with greater and greater speed.

“Our speed of delivery has never been faster,” Andy Jassy, the eCommerce giant’s CEO, told analysts on the company’s earnings call earlier this month. “In this last quarter, across the top 60 largest U.S. metro areas, more than half of Prime members’ orders arrived at the same day or next day.”

Overall, the online grocery and retail markets are poised for growth throughout the rest of this year. Data from PYMNTS’ study “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Catching the Coming eCommerce Wave,” created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, which draws from an April survey of a census-balanced panel of nearly 2,700 U.S. consumers, reveal that 32% of shoppers are very or extremely likely to up their online grocery purchases in the next year. Plus, 30% said the same of online retail purchases.