Walmart drops the $35 order minimum on its 2-hour ‘Express’ delivery service

In a move designed to directly challenge Amazon, Walmart today announced it’s dropping the $35 minimum order requirement for its two-hour “Express” delivery service, a competitor to Amazon’s “Prime Now.”  With Walmart Express Delivery, customers can order from Walmart’s food, consumables or general merchandise assortment, then pay a flat $10 fee to have the items arrive in two hours or less.

The service is useful for more urgent delivery needs — like diapers or a missing ingredient for a recipe, SVP of Customer Product, Tom Ward, noted in an announcement. They’re not meant to sub in for larger shopping trips, however — Express orders are capped at 65 items.

Today, Express Delivery is available in nearly 3,000 Walmart stores reaching 70% of the U.S. population, Walmart says. It builds on top of stores’ existing inventory of pickup and delivery time slots as a third option, instead of giving slots away to those with the ability to pay higher fees.

Like Walmart’s grocery and pickup orders, Express orders are shopped and packaged for delivery by Walmart’s team of 170,000 personal shoppers and items are priced the same as they are in-store. This offers Walmart a potential competitive advantage against grocery delivery services like Instacart or Shipt, for example, where products can be priced higher and hurried or inexperienced shoppers aren’t always able to find items or search the back, having to mark them as “out of stock.”

In theory, Walmart employees will have a better understanding of their own store’s inventory and layout, making these kind of issues less common. It will also have direct access to the order data, which will help it better understand what sells, what replacements customers will accept for out-of-stocks, when to staff for busy times, and more.

In addition to grocery delivery, Express Delivery competes with Amazon’s Prime Now, a service that similarly offers a combination of grocery and other daily essentials and merchandise. Currently, Prime Now’s 2-hour service has a minimum order requirement of $35 without any additional fees in many cases — though the Prime Now app explains that some of its local store partners will charge fees even when that minimum is met, and others may have higher order minimums, which makes the service confusing to consumers.

Walmart’s news comes at a time when Amazon appears to be trying to push consumers away from the Prime Now standalone app, too.

When you open the Prime Now app, a large pop-up message informs you that you can now shop Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh from inside the Amazon app. A button labeled “Make the switch” will then redirect you. Meanwhile, on Amazon’s website touting Prime’s delivery perks, the “Prime Now” brand name isn’t mentioned at all. Instead, Amazon touts free same-day (5 hour) delivery of best sellers and everyday essentials on orders with a $35 minimum purchase, or free 2-hour grocery delivery from Whole Foods and Fresh.

When asked why Amazon is pushing Prime Now shoppers to its main app, Amazon downplayed this as simply an ongoing effort to “educate” consumers about the option.

Walmart, on the other hand, last year merged its separate delivery apps into one.

After items are picked, Walmart works with a network of partners, including DoorDash, Postmates, Roadie, and Pickup Point, as well as its in-house delivery services, to get orders to customers’ doorsteps. This last-mile portion has become an key area of investment for Walmart and competitors in recent months — Walmart, for example, acquired assets from a peer-to-peer delivery startup JoyRun in November. And before that, a former Walmart delivery partner, Deliv, sold to Target.

This is not the first time Walmart has dropped order minimums in an attempt to better compete with Amazon and others.

In December, Walmart announced its Prime alternative known as Walmart+ would remove the $35 minimum on non-same day Walmart.com orders. But it had stopped short of extending that perk to same-day grocery until now.

To some extent, Walmart’s ability to drop minimums has to do with the logistics of its delivery operations. Walmart has been turning more its stores into fulfillment centers, by converting some into small, automated warehouses in partnership with technology providers and robotics companies, including Alert Innovation, Dematic and Fabric.

And because its stores are physically located closer to customers than Amazon warehouses, it has the ability to deliver a broad merchandise selection, faster, while also turning large parking lots into picking stations — another thing that could worry Amazon, which is now buying up closed mall stores for its own fulfillment operations. 

Walmart today still carries a $35 minimum on other pickup and delivery orders and same-day orders from Walmart+ subscribers.

#amazon, #ecommerce, #food, #grocery-store, #instacart, #prime, #prime-now, #retailers, #shipt, #target, #united-states, #walmart, #whole-foods

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PepsiCo signs on to sponsor new founder-in-residence program from M13

The budding venture studio being built inside M13 has signed PepsiCo as its first new corporate partner.

Through the deal, PepsiCo has agreed to bankroll the first founder-in-residence program from the New York and Los Angeles-based firm, which poached former Techstars Los Angeles managing director Anna Barber to lead its new initiative.

The initial M13 Launchpad program will leverage PepsiCo executives and advisors to take entrepreneurs-in-residence on a 12-week long program in ideating and launching a health and wellness-focused startup.

“Today there is a wealth of data available to consumers about their own health, and the movement toward home testing has put ownership over health data more firmly in their hands. This creates exciting opportunities for people to use nutrition even more effectively as a source of consistent, overall health and wellness,” Barber wrote in an email. “This spring, we will be looking at everything from snacks, meal replacement foods, drinks and supplements to software platforms for optimizing nutrition, and connected devices for collecting and managing data.”

It’s a deal that compliments work M13 is already doing alongside corporate partners like Procter & Gamble Ventures, which was instrumental in developing companies like include the premium beauty tech OPTE, Kindra’s menopause products and Bodewell for sensitive skin care.

Independently, the Launchpad program was able to build up Rae, which sells affordable women’s wellness products available at Target, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

Under the 12 week virtual Launchpad program, entrepreneurs will receive a $10,000 monthly stipend and enough cash for testing product market fit when they graduate. Upon leaving the program, each company will also receive a small seed round to ensure that they can continue to grow the business, M13 said.

#advisors, #anna-barber, #articles, #business, #companies, #launchpad, #los-angeles, #m13, #new-york, #rae, #target, #tc, #techstars, #wellness

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New York-based indoor ag company Gotham Greens raises $87 million

Lettuce celebrate the rise of indoor agriculture.

In the past few months AppHarvest, a developer of greenhouse tomato farms went public through a special purpose acquisition vehicle, vertical farming giant Plenty raised $140 million, and now Gotham Greens, which is developing its own network of greenhouses, is announcing the close of $87 million in new funding.

These new agriculture companies certainly have a green thumb when it comes to raising a cornucopia of capital.

Gotham Greens latest round takes the company to a whopping total of $130 million in funding since its launch. Investors in the round included Manna Tree and The Silverman Group.

While App Harvest has taken to tomatoes in its attempt to ketchup with the leading agricultural companies, Gotham Greens has decided to let its hydroponically grown leafy greens lead the way to riches.

The company said it would use the latest funding to continue developing more greenhouse across the U.S. and bring new vegetables to market.

“Given increasing challenges facing centralized food supply chains, combined with rapidly shifting consumer preferences, Gotham Greens is focused on expanding its regional growing operations and distribution capabilities at one of the most critical periods for America,” said Viraj Puri, the co-founder and chief executive of Gotham Greens, in a statement. 

The company already sells its greens in over 40 states and operates greenhouses in Chicago, Providence, R.I., Baltimore and Denver. From those greenhouses the company distributes to 2,000 retail locations including Whole Foods Markets, Albertsons stores, Meijer, Target, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, ShopRite and Sprouts. 

And Gotham Greens has already begun to expand its product portfolio. The company now sells packaged salads, cooking sauces, and salad bowls in addition to its greens.

Assorted packages of Gotham Greens lettuces on a white field. Image Credit: Gotham Greens

#agriculture, #albertsons, #america, #baltimore, #chicago, #denver, #gotham-greens, #greenhouse, #greens, #hydroponics, #king, #plenty, #providence, #rhode-island, #target, #tc, #united-states, #urban-agriculture, #whole-foods

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Everlywell raises $175 million to expand virtual care options and scale its at-home health testing

Digital health startup Everlywell has raised a $175 million Series D funding round, following relatively fast on the heels of a $25 million Series C round it closed in February of this year. The Series D included a host of new investors, including BlackRock, The Chernin Group (TCG), Foresite Capital, Greenspring Associates, Morningside Ventures and Portfolio, along with existing investors including Highland Capital Partners, which led the Series C round. The startup has now raised over $250 million to date.

Everlywell, which launched to the public at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 as a participant in Startup Battlefield, specializes in home health care, and specifically on home health care tests supported by their digital platform for providing customers with their results and helping them understand the diagnostics, and how to seek the right follow-on care and expert medical advice.

Earlier this year, Everlywell launched an at-home COVID-19 test collection kit – the first of this type of test to receive an emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its use that allowed cooperation with multiple lab service providers over time. The COVID-19 test kit joins its many other offerings, which include tests for thyroid hormone levels, food and allergen sensitivity, women’s health and fertility, vitamin D deficiency and more. I spoke to Everlywell CEO and founder Julia Cheek about the raise, and she acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic was definitely behind the decision to raise such a large amount so quickly again after the close of the Series C, since the company saw a sharp increase in demand coming out of the coronavirus crisis – not only for its COVID-19 test kit, but for at-home digital health care options in general.

“We obviously have a very successful COVID-19 test,” she said. “But we’ve also seen three-fourths of our test menu just explode at well over 100% year-over-year growth, and several of our tests are at 4x or 5x growth. That is really representative of this shift in consumer health behavior that will continue in a big way in many different verticals that include testing, and making things more convenient, digitally-enabled, and in the home.”

Like other companies built on solving for a shift to more remote and virtual care options, Cheek said that Everlywell had already anticipated this kind of consumer demand – but COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the pace of change, which is why the startup put together this round, at this size, this quickly (she says they started the process of putting together the Series D just in September).

“We’ve been talking about the digital health movement, and the consumer-directed movement probably for a decade now,” she told me. “I do believe that this will be the watershed moment, unfortunately. But hopefully, we will come out on the other side of the pandemic and say, ‘There are some good things that happened broadly for healthcare.’ That is the hope of what we lean into everyday, and  fundamentally, why we went out and raised this amount of capital in this tremendous growth year.”

Image Credits: Everlywell

Everlywell has also expanded availability of its products this year, with distribution in over 10,000 retail locations across Target, Walgreens, CVS and Kroger stores across the U.S. The company also landed a number of new partnerships on the diagnostic lab and insurance payer side, as well as with major employers – a key customer group since employers shoulder the largest share of healthcare spending in the U.S. due to employee benefit plans. Cheek says that despite their commercial and enterprise customer wins, the focus remains squarely on consumer satisfaction, which is what distinguishes their offering.

“Our COVID-19 test is 75% new people buying our product, and it has an NPS [net promoter score] of 75,” she said. “And then it’s the most highly-referred product, and also one of our top tests where people buy other tests. Experience matters here – we know that if someone is a promoter of Everlywell, if they rate us a nine or a 10, on NPS, they are five times more likely to purchase again on the platform.”

That’s not new for Everlywell, according to Cheek – customers have always had a high degree of satisfaction with the company’s products. But what is new is the expanded reach, and the realization among many Americans that virtual care and at-home options are available, and are effective.

“What you have is this lightbulb moment for Americans in a new way that care can be delivered where then they definitely don’t want to go back,” she said. “It’s not just for Everlywell. This is all of these verticals, that have really shifted consumer behavior around healthcare in the home, and I think that will be somewhat permanent. That is the main driver here, and is what we’re seeing, and it’s why Everlywell has resonated so well with so many Americans.”

#articles, #battlefield, #biotech, #blackrock, #ceo, #chernin-group, #cvs, #driver, #everlywell, #food, #foresite-capital, #funding, #greenspring-associates, #health, #healthcare, #highland-capital-partners, #kroger, #morningside-ventures, #national-park-service, #occupational-safety-and-health, #portfolio, #recent-funding, #science, #startups, #target, #tc, #united-states, #walgreens

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U.S. shopping app downloads on Black Friday reached a record 2.8M installs

Many U.S. consumers spent this year’s Black Friday sales event shopping from home on mobile devices. That led to first-time installs of mobile shopping apps in the U.S. to break a new record for single-day installs on Black Friday 2020, according to a report from Sensor Tower. The firm estimates that U.S. consumers downloaded approximately 2.8 million shopping apps on November 27th — a figure that’s up by nearly 8% over last year.

However, this number doesn’t necessarily represent faster growth than in 2019, which also saw about an 8% year-over-year increase in Black Friday shopping app installs, the report noted. This could be because mobile shopping and the related app installs are now taking place throughout the month of November, though, as retailers adjusted to the pandemic and other online shopping trends by hosting earlier sales or even month-long sales events.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

The data seems to indicate this is true. Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 29, U.S. consumers downloaded approximately 59.2 million shopping apps from across the App Store and Google Play — an increase of roughly 15% from the 51.7 million they downloaded in Nov. 2019. That’s a much higher figure than the 2% year-over-year growth seen during this same period in 2019.

Another shift taking place in mobile shopping is the growing adoption of app from brick-and-mortar retailers. During the first three quarters of 2020, apps from brick-and-mortar retailers grew installs 27%. This trend continued on Black Friday, when 5 out of the top 10 mobile shopping apps were those from brick-and-mortar retailers, led by Walmart.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Walmart saw the highest adoption this year, with around 131,000 Black Friday installs, followed by Amazon at 106,000, then Shopify’s Shop at 81,000. Combined, the top 10 apps saw 763,000 total new installs, or 27% of the first-time downloads in the Shopping category.

Because the firms are only looking at new app installs, they aren’t giving a full picture of the U.S. mobile shopping market, as many consumers already have these apps installed on their devices. And many more simply shop online via a desktop or laptop computer.

To give these figures some context, Shopify reported on Saturday it had seen record Black Friday sales of $2.4 billion, with 68% on mobile. And today, Amazon announced its small business sales alone topped $4.8 billion from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, a 60% year-over-year increase, but it didn’t break out the percentage that came from mobile.

Sensor Tower and rival app store analytics firm App Annie largely agreed on the top 5 shopping apps downloaded this Black Friday. They both saw Walmart again beating Amazon to become the most-downloaded U.S. shopping app on Black Friday — as it did in 2019. The two firms reported that Amazon remained No. 2 by downloads, followed by Shopify’s Shop app, then Target. However, Sensor Tower put Best Buy in 5th place, followed by Nike, while App Annie saw those positions swapped.

Image Credits: App Annie

The rest of Sensor Tower’s top 10 included SHEIN, Sam’s Club, Klarna, then Offer Up, while App Annie’s list was rounded out by SHEIN, Sam’s Club, Wish, then Offer Up.

The pandemic’s impact may not have been obvious given the growth in online shopping this year, but the recession it triggered has played a role in how U.S. consumers are paying for their purchases. “Buy Now, Pay Later” apps like Klarna were up this year, even breaking into the top 10 per Sensor Tower’s data. The firm also noted that many new shopping apps launched this year focused on discounts and deals and retailers ran longer sales this year, as well.

#amazon, #app-annie, #app-store, #apps, #best-buy, #black-friday, #business, #cyber-monday, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #google-play, #klarna, #marketing, #mobile, #nike, #online-shopping, #sams-club, #sensor-tower, #shopify, #shopping, #target, #united-states, #walmart

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Target grocery pickup service expands nationwide

Target announced today its grocery pickup service is available nationwide, First introduced earlier this summer in the Midwest, Target said it would soon roll out grocery pickup services across the U.S., reaching 1,500 stores in a matter of months. Today, Target says it has reached that goal, which equates to nearly 85% of its locations.

Though the retailer had already offered grocery delivery through Shipt and both online Order Pickup and a same-day curbside service called Drive Up, it hadn’t yet offered the ability to pick up groceries due to issues with storing cold foods. But store remodels and more recent expansions to the pickup area inside some Target stores addressed the problem.

To move forward with its plans, the retailer had to work around issues related to the coronavirus outbreak that had delayed Target’s plans to fully remodel hundreds of stores. In stores that hadn’t yet been remodeled, a small construction project allowed the order pickup area to accommodate temperature-controlled storage.

The new grocery pickup service doesn’t offer all of Target’s fresh and frozen items at launch. Instead, Target has made available the most popular 750 fresh and frozen items on top of thousands of non-perishables that were already available to order. These newly added items include produce, dairy, bakery, meat and frozen products. The company said it imposed the limitation based on how it saw customers were using grocery pickup services to shop for essentials between larger trips to the store. It’s unclear, however, if that will remain true in the coronavirus era, when shoppers are now visiting stores less frequently, but stocking up in greater quantities when they do.

In both Target and Walmart’s earnings, announced this week, the retailers reported basket size increases related to this trend. Target, for example, reported customer basket size grew 18.8% in Q2 as people shopped for more items on their Target runs.

If this trend continues beyond the pandemic, retailers may need consider making online order pickup equivalent to shopping inside the store, in terms of product selection.

In addition to fresh and frozen groceries, Target shoppers can also pick from the over 250,000 general merchandise items available for pickup across categories like home, apparel, essentials, and more within their same grocery order. Shoppers don’t have to create separate “carts” in the Target app, nor does the Target website or app separate grocery shopping from other online shopping the way Walmart.com and its app do.

However, the option to build a “Drive Up” order is only available within the mobile app, as before. From the web, you can only create a order you pick up inside the store or choose delivery.

Target is ahead of schedule with its grocery pickup expansions. Originally, the retailer said it would reach 1,500 stores by the U.S. holiday season. The company didn’t offer a timeframe for when it expects to offer grocery pickup at every store.

Online grocery helped fuel both Target and Walmart’s quarterly sales, both retailers reported this week. In Target’s case, same-day services accounted for a majority of its digital growth, with growth of 273% across all services. Curbside pickup grew 734% while Shipt grocery delivery grew 350% during the quarter.

 

#e-commerce, #ecommerce, #grocery, #target

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Target sets sales record in Q2 as same-day services grow 273%

Following Walmart’s pandemic-fueled earnings beat posted on Tuesday, Target today also handily beat Wall St. expectations to deliver a record-setting quarter across a number of key metrics. The retailer on Wednesday announced its strongest quarter to date for comparable sales, which grew 24.3% in Q2, driving Target’s profit up 80.3% year-over-year to $1.69 billion. Online ordering was particularly popular, Target noted, with digital sales growing 195%. Same-day services like Drive Up, Order Pick Up and Shipt also grew by 273%.

In the quarter, Target topped estimates for revenue, same-store sales, adjusted EPS, and gross margin. It reported $23 billion in revenue, vs. estimates of $19.82 billion. Its record-settinbg 24.3% increase in comparable sales was well above the expected 5.8%. Earnings per share came in at $3.38 vs. the $1.58 forecast. And its GM was 30.9% instead of the expected 28.98%.

The company attributed its sales growth to a number of factors, including its ability to remain open amid the pandemic as an essential business, its customers’ overall trust in the Target brand, its ability to get customers to shop across its product categories, its digital services, and most notably, the return of customers to its stores in Q2.

The latter item doesn’t necessarily mean Target shoppers were walking the aisles, however.

Instead, it speaks the investments Target made ahead of the pandemic in bridging the gap between online ordering and its physical stores. In Q2, Target’s In-store Order Pick Up grew more than 60%, as shoppers headed inside Target to pick up their web orders, for example.

Target’s Drive Up service, which allows customers to shop online then pull up in designated parking spots to have orders brought their car, was up by more than 700% in the quarter.

And Target’s Shipt same-day home delivery service Shipt was up 350% over last year.

That means that for much of what Target customers think of as “online shopping,” their sales were actually being fulfilled by Target’s stores. In fact, Target said its stores fulfilled more than 90% of its second-quarter sales.

Image Credits: Target

To build out its digital fulfillment services, Target took a tech company-like approach in leveraging internal engineering teams capable of iterating quickly on new ideas. A team of eight, including four engineers, originally built Drive Up starting back in April 2017, for instance. By summer 2017, Drive Up was being tested in internally. It then rolled out to Target’s home market by that fall. And as of August 2019, Target’s Drive Up service was available nationwide.

The retailer has also made key acquisitions to aid its e-commerce operations, including its $550 million deal for Shipt in 2017, and more recently, its acquisition of same-day delivery technology from Deliv back in May. It has also integrated Shipt’s same-day service directly into its own website and app, instead of relying only on Shipt’s dedicated brand to reach Target shoppers.

The results of these efforts are now paying off in a pandemic where customers don’t necessarily want to browse stores’ aisles in-person to shop. And that has led to Target seeng what Yahoo Finance today described as “tech company-like growth” for its retail business.

Richmond Drive Up

Store opening at Target Houston – Richmond on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 in South Richmond, Texas. (Anthony Rathbun/AP Images for Target)

Target’s Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell additionally noted the company has added $5 billion in market share in the first 6 months of 2020, during which time it’s added 10 million new digital customers.

“Our second quarter comparable sales growth of 24.3 percent is the strongest we have ever reported, which is a true testament to the resilience of our team and the durability of our business model. Our stores were the key to this unprecedented growth, with in-store comp sales growing 10.9 percent and stores enabling more than three-quarters of Target’s digital sales, which rose nearly 200 percent,” he said. “We also generated outstanding profitability in the quarter, even as we made significant investments in pay and benefits for our team. We remain steadfast in our focus on investing in a safe and convenient shopping experience for our guests, and their trust has resulted in market share gains of $5 billion in the first six months of the year,” Cornell continued.

“With our differentiated merchandising assortment, a comprehensive set of convenient fulfillment options, a strong balance sheet, and our deeply dedicated team, we are well-equipped to navigate the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, and continue to grow profitably in the years ahead,” he said.

The pandemic has played a role in what customers bought, too. Target said its sales were up across all five of its core merchandise categories. This was led by the strongest sales in electronics, a category that was up 70% year-over year due to people staying at home for work, school and entertainment, leading to more purchases of things like computers or gaming systems. Electronics were followed by home products, which were up by 30%, then increases of 20% for the beauty, food & beverages, and essentials categories. Apparel even shifted from a 20% decline in Q1 to double-digit growth in Q2. Customer basket size also grew 18.8%, as people shopped for more items on their Target runs.

Like Walmart, Target also saw a boost from government stimulus checks, which will likely taper off next quarter. But Target declined to offer further 2020 guidance, saying that the COVID-19 crisis makes consumer shopping patterns and government policies unpredictable.

 

#e-commerce, #ecommerce, #online-retail, #online-shopping, #pandemic, #retail, #shopping, #target

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Target is rolling out fresh grocery pickup nationwide, starting with the Midwest

Target today is joining the growing number of grocery retailers offering curbside and in-store pickup services for fresh and frozen items. The retailer had paused its plans to rollout grocery pickup this spring, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor. It said it didn’t have time to train employees on the new processes. Today, those plans are back in motion. The company now says it expects to have fresh and frozen grocery pickup available across 1,500 stores in the U.S. within a matter of months.

The addition isn’t being powered by Target’s grocery delivery service, Shipt, but will instead utilize store staff to pick and bag items — much as they do today for Target’s existing Order Pickup and Drive Up services.

However, consumers won’t have access to all of Target’s fresh and frozen food items at launch. The pickup services will offer 750 fresh and frozen items on top of the thousands of non-perishables already available. This includes produce, dairy, bakery, meat and frozen products.

In the same order, shoppers can also order from the more than 250,000 items available for pickup across categories like home, apparel, essentials and more.

A company spokesperson tells us the decision to limit fresh and frozen product selection to 750 items was related to how the service was used in early tests. The company found that Target shoppers largely used pickup to shop for grocery essentials in between larger trips to the store.

Both Drive Up and Order Pickup will offer the same product selection, we understand.

Target says the fresh and frozen items will be stored in temperature-controlled storage in the pickup area in the front of the store, until the customer arrives for their pickup.

The service is free to use and doesn’t require an order minimum or membership. In addition, Target RedCard holders and Target Circle members will be able to utilize their discounts on the new grocery items, as well.

Target is currently rolling out fresh and frozen grocery in the Midwest region, following its successful tests of grocery pickup in the Twin Cities and Kansas City markets. This will make the service available to 400 stores. It expects to reach 1,500 stores by the U.S holiday season.

The retailer is one of many grocers to now offer pickup services in the U.S. For Walmart, online grocery has played a large role in its growing e-commerce sales. In the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2019, ahead of the pandemic, Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew by 35%. As the coronavirus outbreak drove more shoppers to buy online and pickup outside of Walmart sales, the retailer reported a 74% jump in e-commerce sales in Q1.

Target, meanwhile, reported in Q1 its same-day services were growing in popularity as well, due to the pandemic. It even saw days where its volume of order pickup was twice as high as Cyber Monday. And on the Friday before Easter, it did more volume via Shipt’s delivery service than it did in a typical week.

Also in Q1, Target’s digital sales overall grew 141% while its combination of same-day services (Shipt, Drive Up, and Order Pickup) grew 278%. Of the millions of shoppers using Drive Up, 40% were new to the service — an indication of how the pandemic has shifted consumer behavior.

But Q1 was not all good news for the retailer. It said it was spending more on labor, selling fewer high-margin items, and writing down apparel and other goods that weren’t selling due to the pandemic’s influence on shopper’s needs. The company promised that its investments in online shopping options and its workforce — last week, for example, it raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour — would pay off in the long run.

“The speed and convenience of our fulfillment options are unmatched across the country, and they’ve become even more critical for our guests searching for easy and safe ways to shop during the pandemic. By adding fresh grocery to the pickup services our guests already love, we’re giving them even more reasons to shop at Target, said Target’s chief operating officer, John Mulligan, in a statement. “During a time when even more people are looking for different ways to get the items they need, we’ll continue to invest in making Target the easiest and safest place to shop,” he added.

 

#ecommerce, #grocery, #target

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Where to shop online that isn’t Amazon, Target or Walmart

As shutdown orders extend indefinitely, online shopping has become a lifeline for people forced to avoid the outside world. Often times opting to shop with a mega corporation like Amazon, Walmart or Target is the path of least resistance, but there are plenty of reasons to patronize an alternative.

There are the ethical questions currently swirling around things like worker safety, as COVID-19 takes a toll on the often low-paid essential workers who keep these businesses running. It’s also arguably now more important than ever to support small and local businesses, and more and more brick and mortars announce that they simply won’t be able to rebound after the disastrous economic effects of the shutdown.

Not every company listed below is a small business (Chewy, for example, is owned by pet supply giant PetSmart), but the below list compiled by our editorial team should offer a good variety to help you mix up your online shopping.

Groceries/Household

GettyImages 1041147560 1

In this rear view, an unrecognizable woman stands with a shopping cart in front of a shelf full of food in the bread aisle of a grocery store.

Thrive Market: Organic and non-GMO brands of food, home and beauty products, including healthy food, clean beauty and bath products, safe supplements and non-toxic home cleaner.

Great for: Stocking up on healthier grocery items for the pantry and other household needs. 

Grove Collaborative: Eco-friendly home essentials, including cleaners, personal care, bath, baby/kid and pet products.

Great for: Stocking up on concentrated cleaners that reduce plastic waste and save trips to the store. 

Boxed: Online wholesale shopping on groceries, household products and health supplies.

Great for: An online alternative to Costco and Sam’s Club for items you like to buy in bulk. (T.P. is often out-of-stock though!) 

Pet Supplies

A pet cat asleep on the doormat in a conservatory.

Chewy: Online pet store offering food, toys, litter and other pet needs, including both over-the-counter medicine and prescriptions.

Great for: High-quality foods and treats and skipping the vet for prescription refills.

The Farmer’s Dog: All-natural dog food delivery subscription service. Food is proportioned for your dog and delivered to your door.

Great for: Fresh food delivery and those who want a “set it and forget it” option for buying dog food.

Beauty/Baby Supplies

Image Credits: Vladmir Godnik / Getty Images

The Honest Company: Ethical baby and beauty supply company.

Great for: Diapers, baby needs and cruelty-free beauty, bath and body products. 

Ulta: Beauty supply superstore offering ship-to-home and curbside pickup.

Great for: Makeup for your Zoom meetings; skincare products for all that indoor air you’re now living in. 

Sephora: Online beauty store offering direct shipping.

Great for: Makeup, skincare and self-care items, as well as gift sets for someone who needs a boost.

Glossier: Online beauty brand that’s skin-first, makeup second.

Great for: Skincare, body and makeup.

Books & Entertainment

Image Credits: Andersen Ross/Blend Images

Bookshop.org: This newly launched offering is designed specifically to support independent bookstores in a post-Amazon age. You can browse a wealth of titles and designate the specific store you want to support and they’ll get all the profits. With so many bookstores struggling to stay afloat well before the COVID pandemic, this could be Bookshop’s moment.

Great for: Supporting independent bookstores while shopping online. 

Powell’s: For book lovers, few things beat stepping foot inside this Portland mecca. Until things open back up, online shopping is the next best thing.

Great for: Used books galore. 

Amoeba Records: For psychical music releases, going straight to the label is often your best bet. Record stores are a great option, too. California’s Amoeba is one of the greatest small music chains in the world, but it’s among those with an uncertain post-COVID future, having recently announced the expected closure of its Hollywood location.

Great for: New and used vinyl, CDs and books. 

Forbidden Planet: This Manhattan mainstay has become a go-to for mainstream and indie comics lovers alike. The store is one of countless currently struggling to stay afloat during the COVID crisis. They’ve started a GoFundMe, but better yet, go order some comics.

Great for: Comics, from superhero to super indie. 

Trident Bookstore: This gem of a Boston bookstore survived a fire and finals season, so you know it’s a special one. Its selling books all over the United States right now (and if you’re in Boston, it’ll add in brunch too).

Great for: Well-known titles as well as undercover ones. Also, pro tip: You can purchase a “creative add-on” in your package like a surprise puzzle or a bundle of greeting cards, depending on availability. 

Athletic

Los Angeles Apparel: This site is selling three-pack face masks in a variety of colors, and all purchases help fund their ability to donate masks to essential services and provide living wages.

Great for: A comfortable cotton mask that also does good. 

Donkaka.com: Fashionable face masks sold direct to consumer with free shipping.

Great for: Stylist, reusable comfort. 

Tiny pleasures and knick-knacks

Participants play a Magic: The Gathering card game during a weekly tournament at the Uncommons hobby shop in New York, U.S., on Thursday, June 27, 2019. In the battle for gaming dominance, Hasbro Inc. has what it hopes is an ace up its sleeve in a deck of playing cards that hit the market 26 years ago. Photographer: Mark Abramson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Little Market: This nonprofit sells fair-trade goods made by people in need, from individuals with disabilities to women transitioning out of homelessness.

Great for: Candles, tote bags, soaps and sugar scrubs. 

Uncommon Goods: Unique gifts, decor, games and more

Great for: Unusual items to break your quarantine boredom, especially kids’ crafts and toys for parents whose children have now tired of every toy in the house.  

#amazon, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #ecommerce, #retail, #target, #tc, #walmart

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Daily Crunch: Target acquires Deliv’s delivery tech

Target makes another acquisition, social platforms struggle with a “Plandemic” conspiracy video and Boston Dynamics’ robot Spot encourages social distancing.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 8, 2020.

1. Target to acquire same-day delivery tech from Deliv

Target, which already owns on-demand delivery service Shipt, is in the process of acquiring technology assets from same-day delivery service Deliv . The retailer is characterizing the deal as more of an R&D type of acquisition, not one that will have an immediate consumer-facing impact.

Deliv had raised more than $80 million in venture capital funding. The acquisition price is said to be immaterial to Target, which isn’t issuing a press release or an 8-K filing to note.

2. Platforms scramble as ‘Plandemic’ conspiracy video spreads misinformation like wildfire

A coronavirus conspiracy video featuring a well-known vaccine conspiracist is spreading like wildfire on social media this week, even as platforms talk tough about misinformation in the midst of the pandemic. The video took off mid-week after first being posted to Vimeo and YouTube on May 4. From those sites, it traveled to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where it circulated much more widely and racked up millions of views.

3. Boston Dynamics’ Spot is patrolling a Singapore park to encourage social distancing

In a new pilot program, a remote operator will control Spot as it patrols around two miles of Singapore’s Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. A recorded message encourage social distancing will be broadcast from the robot.

4. Microsoft and AWS exchange poisoned pen blog posts in latest Pentagon JEDI contract spat

As you may recall, the DoD selected Microsoft last fall as the winning vendor in the JEDI winner-take-all cloud infrastructure sweepstakes. Amazon took exception to the decision and went to court to fight it. Since then, the two companies have been battling in PR pronouncements and blog posts trying to get the upper hand in the war for public opinion.

5. SaaS stocks defy gravity amid pandemic, record job losses

This week, shares of SaaS and cloud companies reached new record highs following an earnings cycle that came in better than some expected. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. A Chinese city to pump life into local business with WeChat live streaming

Messaging giant WeChat, which commands 1.16 monthly active users, announced this week it’s partnering with the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to host a live stream shopping festival in June. The initiative, in which a municipal government aims to pump up the local economy through live streaming e-commerce, is first of its kind in China.

7. Student Discount: Join Extra Crunch for $50 per year

Speaking of Extra Crunch: Graduation season is here, and to celebrate we are offering annual Extra Crunch memberships to students for half price. That’s a full year of Extra Crunch for only $50 (plus tax). You just need a .edu or university email address.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

#daily-crunch, #deliv, #ecommerce, #target

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Target is looking to buy Deliv’s same-day delivery tech

Target, which already owns on-demand delivery service Shipt, is in talks to buy assets from Deliv, NBC News first reported.

“Deliv is in the process of completing a deal to sell technology assets to Target and Deliv’s CEO along with a subset of the team will be moving over to Target,” a Deliv spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Target is not involved in the wind-down. We are working with our retail partners to transition delivery services to other providers during the next 90 days.”

If the deal goes through, Target will reportedly bring on Deliv CEO Daphne Carmeli and some of Deliv’s employees. This comes just one day after The Wall Street Journal reported Deliv would be ceasing its on-demand delivery operations on or before August 4.

Deliv, founded in 2012, has raised $80.4 million in venture capital and currently operates same-day delivery of things like groceries and prescriptions in 35 markets. Deliv has partnerships in place with companies like Best Buy, Walgreens and Macy’s, but those are not expected to remain intact.

Deliv previously had a partnership with Walmart, but that ended in February 2019. At the time, Deliv said the Walmart partnership did not make up a large chunk of its operations.

If this deal goes through, this would mark Target’s second acquisition in the delivery space. In December 2017, Target bought same-day delivery service Shipt for $550 million. Since then, Target has launched a dedicated shopping site for same-delivery service, powered by Shipt. But as of late, Target has been under fire for its practices toward Shipt workers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April, Shipt shoppers walked off work to demand an extended sick pay policy, hazard pay and personal protective equipment.

TechCrunch has reached out to Target and will update this if we hear back.

#deliv, #food, #startups, #target, #tc

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Workers prepare to strike May 1, amid strained pandemic working conditions

The global pandemic has tested the bounds of businesses across the world and transformed the way many of us live our lives. For those among us who are unable to leave our homes at all as COVID-19 virus rages, online retail and food services have been a kind of lifeline.

But as contact-free delivery becomes the norm, it can be easy to forgot all the people working to provide those services at risk to their health. And more often than not, employees are working for low wages or tips.

A number of protests have been organized at companies like Amazon and Instagram in the intervening weeks and months, but a wide-scale, cross-company event hasn’t really surfaced. That could change on May 1, as employees mark the longstanding tradition of International Workers’ Day with a May Day general strike.

Material for the event has been circulating online, rebadged “Essential Workers’ Day,” as a nod to the exemptions to stay at home orders for retail and food delivery, among others. The event is framed as a combination strike and boycott, targeted at Amazon/Whole Foods, Instacart and Target/Shipt (as well as Walmart and FedEx, according to various sources). 

Specific demands differ from employer to employer, but workers have broadly asked for essential health protections, sick leave and hazard pay as the pandemic has continued to wear on and profits have spiked for many providers. 

Vice spoke to Christian Smalls, one of the organizers, the Staten Island Amazon employee who was fired after organizing a walkout at one of the company’s fulfillment centers. “We formed an alliance between a bunch of different companies because we all have one common goal which is to save the lives of workers and communities,” he told the site. “Right now isn’t the time to open up the economy. Amazon is a breeding ground [for COVID] which is spreading right now through multiple facilities.”

Amazon workers have been particularly vocal about the retail giant’s response to the pandemic. In addition to Smalls, two other employees who were publicly critical of the company were fired by Amazon — though the company denied the direct link. Instacart employees have also organized boycotts and strikes, including one in late March.

“We remain singularly focused on the health and safety of the Instacart community. Our team has been diligently working to offer new policies, guidelines, product features, resources, increased bonuses, and personal protective equipment to ensure the health and safety of shoppers during this critical time,” the company said in a statement. “We welcome all feedback from shoppers and we will continue to enhance their experience to ensure this important community is supported.”

Other companies have previously issued similar statements regarding employment during the crisis. We’ve reached out to them for additional comment on the planned protests.

Update: An Amazon spokesperson offered TechCrunch the following statement,

While we respect people’s right to express themselves, we object to the irresponsible actions of labor groups in spreading misinformation and making false claims about Amazon during this unprecedented health and economic crisis. The statements made are not supported by facts or representative of the majority of the 500,000 Amazon operations employees in the U.S. who are showing up to work to support their communities. What’s true is that masks, temperature checks, hand sanitizer, increased time off, increased pay, and more are standard across our Amazon and Whole Food Market networks already. Our employees are doing incredible work for their communities every day, and we have invested heavily in their health and safety through increased safety measures and the procurement of millions of safety supplies and have invested nearly $700 million in increased pay. Working globally with our teams and third parties we have gone to extreme measures to understand and address this pandemic with more than 150 process changes to-date. We spend every day focused on what else Amazon can do to keep our people and communities safe and healthy.

#amazon, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #health, #instacart, #shipt, #strikes, #target, #whole-foods

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