Target takes on Prime and Walmart+ with new membership programs

ConsumerAffairs

More stores and enhancements at current stores, too

Target is on a bullseye-crazy tear if the retail world has ever seen one. In the last few weeks, it’s established a new low-price private label brand, decided to go after fashion lovers and now wants to take on Amazon Prime and Walmart+ and try to rival those two retailers’ membership programs.

On April 7, Target will reintroduce Target Circle, complemented by a suite of memberships that build on each other. The offer is in a prime – and much easier – position to gain traction since it already has more than 100 million members.

"For years, Target has consistently built for the long-term, investing in the assets, capabilities and teams that have differentiated our business, enabled us to deliver for guests in any environment and driven strong growth," said Brian Cornell, CEO at Target. 

"Today, with that same long-term view, we're making strategic investments that expand on our core strengths, further elevate our guest experience and deepen our connection to both current and new guests. Most importantly, these plans provide fuel for our next era of growth."

Membership options

If you decide to sign up for the membership program, you have three options:

  • A free-to-join membership

  • Retail payment card options and 

  • A new paid membership. 

Target Circle: The free-to-join membership will still have personalized deals, member-exclusive sales throughout the year and additional perks and savings like it’s always had, but now deals will be applied automatically at checkout.

That means no more having to search for or add individual offers, so you’ll get the best value each time you shop. A new add-on is Target Circle Bonuses, what the company called “personalized deals.”

Target Circle Card: Here’s where the new program gets interesting. If you want to save even more, you can apply for a Target Circle Card (previously known as Target RedCard) for an extra 5% off every day, as well as extra time to return items, plus free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items on Target.com. 

Target Circle 360: Here's where the Prime and Walmart+ fighter steps into the ring. If you sign up for Target Circle 360 – $99/yr, but only $49 for the first year as a special launch offer from April 7 to May 18 – you’ll get:

  • Unlimited free same-day delivery for orders over $35 in as little as an hour with no delivery fees or markups

  • Free two-day shipping

  • Access to preferred shoppers who can personalize their experience and access to Shipt Marketplace, which offers same-day delivery from more than 100 retailers nationwide.

More stores and enhancements

On top of the new membership program, Target has decided to give Walmart and others a little more to sweat about. The company said it will continue investing in its stores-as-hubs model during the next decade with plans to build more than 300 new stores. 

The company couches the moves as a way “to reach new guests with a shopping experience that's welcoming, convenient and fun, whether they're shopping the aisles or using same-day services.” Reading between the lines, that might mean that the new stores could be smaller and possibly be in markets where Target hasn’t gone yet.

To complement the additions, the company said it’s also investing in “enhancements” of its nearly 2,000 stores, with projects ranging from full remodels to adding Ulta Beauty locations, upgrading fixtures, supporting same-day services and more. 

Take a Home Warranty Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.