Retailers Battle for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers With Extended Hours & Express Shipping

With the holiday season in full swing, retailers are duking it out for last-minute shoppers hoping to get items before Christmas.

Target and Walmart have both amped up their shipping efforts to ensure online shoppers get their packages in time for the holidays.

On both Walmart.com and Target.com, customers can purchase items through Dec. 20 with free shipping and arrival by Christmas Eve. Target customers can pay extra for express shipping to get items ordered on Dec. 21 by Dec. 24, while Walmart shoppers can order select items by Dec. 22 to have them arrive by Dec. 24.

For brick-and-mortar customers, Target has extended its hours, with most stores opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight through Dec. 23.

Both Target and Walmart are banking on a hybrid strategy — buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) — to pay off this holiday season. Target is offering free same-day pick-up until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve (most orders are ready within an hour). Walmart will let customers place orders through Dec. 23 at 4 p.m., with items available for pickup until 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

With frazzled customers searching for the most convenient options — and hoping to avoid long lines — BOPIS is an omnichannel offering that is likely to pay off for these big-box retailers.

Of course, both Target and Walmart continue to complete with the e-commerce behemoth that is Amazon. The e-tailer offered free shipping for all customers, regardless of minimum purchase, through Dec. 18.

Prime customers can get free two-day shipping through Dec. 22 (Dec. 23 in select areas). In regions where eligible, Prime customers can even get same-day delivery on Dec. 24 or use the Prime Now two-hour delivery window option that day. With more than 100 million Prime members globally, Amazon’s extended deadlines for its subscribers could mean big business for the e-tailer.

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