Target Expands Google Express Offer Nationwide to Counter Amazon

  • Shoppers will also soon be able to order by voice via phones
  • Rival Wal-Mart joined Google’s online mall last month

Target Corp., looking to keep pace with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., is expanding its pact with Google’s shopping service to the entire U.S. and will soon add voice-activated smartphone purchases.

The nationwide home-delivery service broadens an offering that’s been available in New York City and California for the past few years. Soon, shoppers will also be able to buy Target goods like Cat & Jack kids’ apparel and Archer Farms food by voice over some Android and Apple phones.

The move is Target’s latest attempt to attract more online shoppers as the holidays approach. In August, it acquired a software company that manages local and same-day deliveries, and it’s also now offering curbside pickup of online orders in the Twin Cities area. For Google, the deal extends the appeal of its online mall at a time when more shoppers are beginning their online product searches on Amazon.

Target’s online sales rose 32 percent last quarter, well behind the 60 percent jump seen by Wal-Mart, which joined Google’s online mall last month. E-commerce sales across all retailers are expected to swell by 18 percent to 21 percent from November to January, compared with last year’s growth rate of 14 percent, according to Deloitte LLP.

“We’re excited to offer this service nationwide in time for the busy holiday season,” Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer, said in a statement.

Target and Google will also let shoppers buy with Target’s store credit cards next year, which offer a 5 percent discount and free shipping. Purchases from Target made over Google Express include free two-day delivery for orders over $35. Also in 2018, customers will be able to pick up orders in-store and link their Target.com accounts to Google for personalized offers.

Google previously charged $10 a month or $95 per year for Express, but recently dropped its membership fee for the service as it struggled to keep pace with Amazon’s growth. Almost two out of three U.S. internet users shopped on Amazon in the second quarter, according to Wells Fargo analysts.

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