Target adds a new perk to drive-up ordering: Coffee

The retailer on Wednesday announced the nationwide rollout of Drive Up with Starbucks, which lets shoppers add beverages and food to pickup orders—without leaving their cars.
Shoppers placing drive-up orders at Target will soon be able to add food and drinks from Starbucks for pickup. / Photo courtesy: Starbucks

Target is looking to sweeten (and, apparently, caffeinate) its popular drive-up service.

The Minneapolis-based retailer on Wednesday announced the nationwide rollout of Drive Up with Starbucks, which allows shoppers to add the coffee chain’s drinks and food to any pickup order.

Following a test, the offering will begin its debut at Target stores around the country this summer, with a full expansion to all of the 1,700-plus stores with Starbucks Cafes and Drive Up service by October, the retailer said.

Drive Up with Starbucks is currently available at select stores in California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Shoppers have frequently asked why they can’t get their coffee drinks with their drive-up orders, the retailer has said.

“Our guests have long told us Drive up is a game changer, adding convenience to their daily life, especially when they’re short on time,” Target Chief Stores Officer Mark Schindele said in a statement. “We’ve continued listening to our guests, who’ve told us overwhelmingly that Drive Up with Starbucks would bring even more ease and joy to every Target run.”

Drive-up pickup has been a juggernaut for Target since it was first tested in Minneapolis in late 2017. The service launched nationwide in 2019 and, fueled by the pandemic, the channel’s sales skyrocketed 600% in early 2020. Also in 2020, Target added fresh and frozen grocery pickup to its drive-up service, rolling out alcohol orders via drive up the following year.

Even as shoppers return to Target stores, drive-up sales grew in the “high single digits” during the retailer’s first quarter, leading (as usual, the company noted) all digital, same-day sales. Target recently added drive-up returns to the offering as well.

“And because we own our same-day capabilities, pickup and drive-up are much more economical and flexible than other forms of digital fulfillment,” Target COO John Mulligan told analysts in February, according to a transcript from financial services site Sentieo. “In fact, our average fulfillment cost per unit has come down 40% over the past four years as our same-day services have grown to account for over half of our digital sales.”

To add a Starbucks order to a drive-up order, shoppers must first place their Target pick-up order, receive a notification that it’s ready and alert the store that they’re on their way to get it. Then, the consumer will receive a prompt via the app to place a Starbucks order. After making their selection, they can choose “add for drive up” and pay for the order.

After tapping “I’m here” in the Target app, a store employee will bring out the shopper’s full order, including the Starbucks food or drink.

Target has partnered with Starbucks for more than 20 years, and the ability to add a Starbucks menu item to a drive-up order was the most-requested feature by shoppers, the retailer said.

“Target worked with Starbucks in the development of the experience and then piloted Drive Up with Starbucks service in 2022 and 2023 with the help of team members in select stores,” Target said in a statement. “Throughout the pilot phase, Target’s store teams tested the process to make sure it was efficient and easy for team members—and enjoyable for guests.”

Update: This article has been updated to add Illinois to the list of states where this service is currently available. 



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