Modesto’s Target stores let you shop and pick up without ever leaving your car now

Modesto’s Target stores just got super-sized drive-thrus of sorts, as the company rolls out a national online shopping service.

The Drive Up program allows customers to order online, and then pick up at the store with purchases brought out to their car. The free service started last week at both the Modesto Targets, on Sisk Road and McHenry Avenue. The launch is part of the company’s push into online shopping options already offered at competitors locally like Walmart, Raley’s and Save Mart.

Last year, Target launched its Shipt service for same-day home delivery of purchases in Modesto. But that program is membership based, whereas the new Drive Up program is free to all customers.

To use Drive Up, customers must download the Target app, then use it to place their orders. The app will send a notification when orders are ready. Most are completed in an hour, and customers can go to the store and park in one of the designated Drive Up spaces. Once on site, customers use the app to alert their arrival and a Target employee will then bring the completed orders to their vehicles, typically in under two minutes.

“We have a really broad range of fulfillment offerings,” said Target spokeswoman Jill Lewis. “We want to continue to invest in and scale up services to make it easy to shop at Target.”

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Drive Up service parking at Target store on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, Calif., Friday, April 5, 2019. Andy Alfaro

The service launched as a pilot program in 2017, Lewis said. Then last year, it began expanding widely. Modesto is among the first wave of several cities across the country getting the service this year, which in California includes Sacramento, Fresno, San Jose, Bakersfield, Palm Springs and San Diego. Drive Up is now available in about 1,100 of Target’s 1,800 stores.

Most of the store’s merchandise is available to purchase through Drive Up, including non-perishable groceries, household products, baby care needs, home decor, electronics and more. Fresh groceries, including produce, meats and dairy, are not currently part of the service. Eligible items will have a “Drive Up” designation on the app.

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Jacob Chacon shops for the “drive up” service at the Target store on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, Calif., Friday, April 5, 2019. Andy Alfaro

Discounts and promotions, including those though Target’s online Cartwheel program, can be used with Drive Up.

For shoppers like Modesto resident Heather McKinsey, the service makes running errands with her three children that much easier. She used Drive Up for the first time Friday, pulling up into one of the four designated spots, and said she’d definitely use it again.

“It’s so convenient, and when I take my kids with me into Target, we spend so much more money,” she said. “And it takes more time. Sometimes I dread going in (to Target) or avoid it all together because of that. This is so easy.”

Raley’s supermarkets have been offering a similar service called eCart since 2007, and Walmart launched its curbside delivery regionally in 2016.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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