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Target ups the ante on safety precautions at its stores

Line-skipping and contactless checkout anywhere within the store are two of the new pluses

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Photo (c) Wolterk - Getty Images
Knowing that the 2020 holiday season will require a whole new way of doing things, Target is going all out to meet the consumer where safety matters. 

The retailer is stepping up its COVID-19-related safety measures to include contactless self-checkout, technology that allows guests the freedom to skip waiting in line, and more parking spots for its contactless drive-up service.

“Year over year, the investments we’ve made in our business and team have made Target the easiest place to shop in America. As we’ve navigated the pandemic, that focus has evolved to ensure we’re also creating the safest place for our guests to shop,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell. 

“As we approach the holidays, guests can feel confident in choosing Target – a safe experience, incredible value, and a differentiated assortment that will help them celebrate the joy of the season,” Cornell said.

The new safety measures

Here are the additional steps Target is taking to make customers feel safe when they come to one of their stores:

  • MyCheckout: The retailer is adding 1,000 more MyCheckout devices at its stores, allowing team members to help guests check out anywhere in the store and avoid waiting in line.

  • Contactless In-Store Payment: Target shoppers are now given the option of using Wallet -- the mobile payment option inside the Target app -- which provides for not only a contactless self-checkout experience, but it also eliminates the need to pick up and use a scanning device that another shopper might have used.

  • Pre-Trip Shopping Reservations: One new and interesting twist Target is adding to its list of safety measures is giving customers a look-see on how many customers are at the store so they can decide if there’s enough space to shop safely and comfortably. This holiday season, guests can visit Target.com/line to see if there is a line outside their local Target store, and if so, they’ll be able to reserve a spot in line. When their turn to enter the store has come, Target will then text the guest to notify them.

Improved same-day services

On top of the in-store safety measures, Target is also adding several new enhancements with its same-day services. These include:

  • Double the drive-up spots: For the 2020 holiday season, Target is doubling the total number of drive-up spots by adding some 8,000 additional ones, which it hopes will make life easier for guests to access the service.

  • Socially-distanced drive-up experience: Target says that it’s completely doing away with the need for barcode scanning at drive-up, making it even easier for guests and team members to socially distance. Now, all a customer has to do is show the personal identification number on their app to a team member through their car window to confirm the order.

  • The customer can change pick-up times: Target’s updated app allows customers to change – in real time – when they want to pick up their items even after they’ve arrived at the store.

A smart move

The attention Target is giving to safety concerns is also good business. A recent survey by PwC found that 65 percent of U.S. consumers said they were concerned about catching the coronavirus. Add to that, a study from the International Council of Shopping Centers showed that 66 percent of surveyed consumers also said they are more prone to visit stores that have firm health precautions in place, such as those at Target.

Target will also be closed on Thanksgiving. Following Walmart’s lead, the retailer said that it made the decision in the interest of making the holiday shopping experience “simple, safe and stress-free.”

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