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TechCrunch reports that Target is introducing “ a new app called “myCheckout” for its store staff that will allow them to process online transactions on the customer’s behalf, including taking payments, right from the store’s floor when merchandise is unavailable locally … if a customer is shopping at their local Target store and can’t find an item in the size they want or in the right color – or even if the item itself is temporarily sold out ahead of an expected shipment, for example – the Target employee can place an online order on the customer’s behalf to have the product in question shipped directly to the customer’s home.”

The app runs on a handheld device that also can take credit card payments.

According to the story, “The app has been in testing with select stores starting this spring, and has already processed over 10,000 customer transactions during this period, Target says. The retailer says myCheckout is live chain-wide now, so it will be available in time for the holiday shopping season.”

• Independent, limited assortment grocer Stew Leonard’s said that it plans to begin delivering groceries from all of its stores to customers within a 20-30 minute drive of each of its six stores, offering delivery widows of one-to-seven hours. The delivery service is being operated by Instacart.

I’m a Stew Leonard’s shopper and have been one for years, and I simply cannot understand why a store that prides itself on creating a differentiated and unique shopper experience would want to rely on a delivery service that also delivers products for Costco and PetSmart. Stew Leonard’s, after all, was founded on the whole notion of delivery - the original business was a dairy and milk truck. And I’m sure that the original goal was to be the best milk truck that it could be. Now, they’re buying into a “me, too” offering. This may seem like the most efficient solution, but it almost certainly is not the most effective one.
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