Tar­get is ex­pand­ing its Google Ex­press of­fer na­tion­wide

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By Matthew Boyle

Tar­get, look­ing to keep pace with Wal-Mart Stores and Ama­zon.com, is ex­pand­ing its pact with Google’s shop­ping ser­vice to the en­tire U.S. and will soon add voice-ac­ti­vated smart­phone pur­chases.

The na­tion­wide home­de­liv­ery ser­vice broad­ens an of­fer­ing that’s been avail­able in New York City and Cal­i­for­nia for the past few years. Soon, shop­pers will also be able to buy Tar­get goods like Cat & Jack kids’ ap­parel and Archer Farms food by voice over some An­droid and Ap­ple phones.

The move is Tar­get’s lat­est at­tempt to at­tract more on­line shop­pers as the hol­i­days ap­proach.

In Au­gust, it ac­quired a soft­ware com­pany that man­ages lo­cal and same­day de­liv­er­ies, and it’s now of­fer­ing curb­side pickup of on­line or­ders in the Twin Cities area. For Google, the deal ex­tends the ap­peal of its on­line mall at a time when more shop­pers are be­gin­ning their on­line prod­uct searches on Ama­zon.

Tar­get’s on­line sales rose 32 per­cent last quar­ter, well be­hind the 60 per­cent jump seen by Wal-Mart, which joined Google’s on­line mall last month. E-com­merce sales across all re­tail­ers are ex­pected to swell by 18 per­cent to 21 per­cent from Novem­ber to Jan­uary, com­pared with last year’s growth rate of 14 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to Deloitte.

“We’re ex­cited to of­fer this ser­vice na­tion­wide in time for the busy hol­i­day sea­son,” Mike McNa­mara, Tar­get’s chief in­for­ma­tion and dig­i­tal of­fi­cer, said in a state­ment Thurs­day.

Tar­get and Google will also let shop­pers buy with Tar­get’s store credit cards next year, which of­fer a 5 per­cent dis­count and free ship­ping.

Pur­chases from Tar­get made over Google Ex­press in­clude free two-day de­liv­ery for or­ders over $35. Also in 2018, cus­tomers will be able to pick up or­ders in-store and link their Tar­get.com ac­counts to Google for per­son­al­ized of­fers.

Google pre­vi­ously charged $10 a month or $95 per year for Ex­press, but it re­cently dropped its mem­ber­ship fee for the ser­vice as it strug­gled to keep pace with Ama­zon’s growth. Al­most two out of three U.S. in­ter­net users shopped on Ama­zon in the sec­ond quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to Wells Fargo an­a­lysts.

Like many re­tail­ers, Tar­get has been of­fer­ing more shop­ping op­tions.

“We have lots of dif­fer­ent choices of how they buy from us,” McNa­mara said.

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