While Walmart and Target competing head-to-head for customers is something of expected background radiation in American commerce at this point, every once in awhile, the two firms find a new way to bring meaning to direct competition.
The largest grocer in the U.S. will launch order online, pickup in-store functionality in Cottage Grove, Oak Park Heights, Monticello and Maple Grove — all stores in the Twin Cities area, AKA the place where Target is headquartered.
The service is pretty simple: Customers select a local store that offers the service, pick out the items they want and then select a time — including later that same day — to pick up the orders. Grocery is picked up curbside in special orange parking spaces, where a Walmart worker will load said order into the customer's car. The minimum order is $30.
“Our customers have told us that grocery pickup is a game-changer,” Katie Vitela, a Wal-Mart Minneapolis “market coach,” said in a statement. “They are now able to complete their grocery shopping in a matter of minutes — between errands or on their way home from an after-school activity — without even unbuckling their seat belts.”
Consumers are free to reject Walmart's selections — unsatisfactory goods can be returned for a refund.
Walmart first began testing online grocery pickup in a handful of markets a few years ago and has expanded the service to 60 markets.
Target Corp. tested curbside pickup in California and New Jersey but discontinued the service in June and instead gravitated toward home delivery in partnership with Instacart.
And to keep things complex, Google Express announced last week that it is expanding its delivery services from retailers, such as Whole Foods, Costco and Walgreens, to the Twin Cities but also looking to scale back its efforts at delivering fresh produce.