The Fuel Behind Target’s December Sales Momentum

Last week, Target unveiled its November/December trading results, reporting a 5.7 percent increase in comparable sales and a 29 percent growth in digital revenue. This result is particularly notable, as other long-standing cross-channel retailers, such as Macy’s and JCPenney struggled through what’s traditionally the busiest time of year in the retail calendar.

According to Mulligan, Target was able to withstand the market pressures that caused issues for its competitors by focusing on creating a seamless customer experience across all of its shopping channels.

“We made a promise to our guests,” he said. “By offering the broadest range of fulfilment options in retail, we would deliver every purchase when, where and how they wanted it all season long.”

While remodelling and the opening of new physical locations had a role to play in this promise, Mulligan says that new fulfilment capabilities were the true hero.

“Our store teams nailed it – serving guests both in stores and online [through click-and-collect]. They filled three-quarters of our digital volume during the busy holiday months, fueling our digital growth,” he said.

Over the festive season, in-store staff reportedly handled 60 percent more items through the company’s new fulfilment initiatives, which include order pickup, drive up, and ship from store.

Janna Potts, Target’s chief stores officer said this is no small feat. “Not only did stores handle the vast majority of the digital business, but they also kept their stores stocked and sparkling… delivering record-breaking sales days around Black Friday and the final days leading up to Christmas,” she commented.

As such, Target recruited double the amount of seasonal workers for its physical shopfronts to allow for the influx of online orders the business had anticipated.

To lure the customers in, Target offered free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of eligible items, as well as guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. Right up until December 24, the business was also working with Shipt to provide drive up and same-day delivery options to customers from coast to coast.

However, amidst this major digital push, Potts says that the business was still focused on providing an experiential shopping experience, in-store, as well as online. “We made things easy without sacrificing the excitement and fun that comes with holiday shopping,” she said.

“Families were inspired by in-store experiences like our curated gift displays and our Wondershop, which has become a much-loved Target tradition and go-to destination for trees, snacks, décor and all things holiday.”

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