Target to Focus Seasonal Expansion on E-Commerce

More than 90% of Target's digital orders are fulfilled by brick-and-mortar stores.

Need to Know

  • Target added 10 million new e-commerce customers in the first half of fiscal 2020.
  • The company aims to hire 130,000 seasonal workers, roughly the same number as in 2019, and will be focusing those hires primarily on the fulfillment of online orders.
  • Existing employees will be given the chance to take on duties outside of their ordinary tasks, including supporting digital orders.
  • More than 90% of Target’s online orders are currently fulfilled by stores as opposed to central fulfillment centers.

Need to Know

U.S. retail chain Target is preparing for a unique holiday shopping season, planning to hire 130,000 seasonal workers who will focus more than ever on the fulfillment of online orders.

Target’s seasonal hiring target is the same as it was in 2019, but the company plans to dedicate twice as many employees to same-day curbside and in-store pickup of online purchases as it did during the first half of the year. Currently, more than 90% of Target’s online orders are fulfilled by stores, and the company added more than 10 million digital consumers during the first half of fiscal 2020. Target expects online shopping to remain a preference among its customers this holiday season.

“We do expect this to be a very different holiday season,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said. “We expect guests to start shopping earlier and shop throughout the season. We’re not expecting long lines on Black Friday morning. But we certainly expect a very engaged consumer and a Target guest who’s looking forward to celebrating the holiday season.”

Target plans to hire workers to focus on additional in-store safety measures, such as sanitizing shopping carts and ensuring physical distancing among customers. The chain will also add more staff to its distribution centers than it did last year and plans to allow existing staff to take on additional responsibilities, such as assisting with fulfillment of online orders. The company has not increased its staff during the pandemic, unlike other big-box stores, such as Walmart.

Target’s same-day services have helped the retailer achieve significant sales numbers throughout the pandemic. These include Shipt, its online home-delivery service; Drive Up, which is Target’s curbside pickup option, and Order Pickup, which is in-store pickup. These three services combined saw a 273% year-over-year growth for the second quarter of 2020.

Overall, Target has reported significant e-commerce growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first quarter, despite being hit by physical store closures, Target’s sales grew: for Q1, the company saw a sales increase of 10.2%, with digital growth for that period spiking by 141% year-over-year. In the second quarter of 2020, the company reported a profit increase of 80%; at that time, the company also reported that e-commerce sales increased by a whopping 195%.