Delivery going to the dogs? Petco products will soon be available through Target's Shipt

Petco shoppers who want to get Fido’s doggie toys and Kitty’s cat snacks dropped at their front door will soon be able to through Shipt, the same-day delivery service owned by Target.

Starting April 18, Petco will become the first pet products seller available through Shipt, which previously focused primarily on deliveries of groceries, paper towels and other household staples.

"With more than two-thirds of US households owning a pet, this addition makes Shipt’s personalized same-day delivery experience accessible to millions of pet families,'' Kelly Caruso, Shipt's CEO said in an email. With a service "that now stretches from the dinner table to the dog bowl ... we see that as a win-win.''

Pet owners in more than 200 markets will be able to get pet food and other supplies from roughly 1,300 Petco stores, an offering that could benefit almost 70 million households, Shipt says.

Though Target owns the online delivery company, customers still need to specifically subscribe to the Shipt service. Those who sign up prior to April 18, will get the $99 annual fee reduced to $49.

Members can place and pay for an order within the Shipt app, selecting a one-hour window in which it will be delivered that day. Then, its network of over 100,000 shoppers will pick up, pack, and drop off the purchases.

Target bought Shipt for $550 million in 2017 as an enticement to shoppers who have grown used to the convenience and speed offered by Amazon and other online retailers. While grocery has become a key battleground in the delivery space, the addition of Petco enables the service to grab a share of the lucrative pet products market, which was worth roughly $49.6 billion last year, according to the retail consultancy GlobalData.

"Adding in pets products is smart,'' says Neil Saunders, GlobalData's managing director, adding that spending on pet products rose 6.2% last year as compared to 2017. "Many pet products, like food, are consumable so they are things people need to buy regularly and will sometimes have an urgent need for. The big packs of food are bulky, too, so having delivery is convenient."

But Saunders questioned Target featuring another retailer that poses potentially steep competition to some of its own product lines.

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"I am not sure why Target would want to add in what is technically a rival,'' he says. "Target sells pet food, and it has an increasing range of pet products under its Boots & Barkley own-brand. Its main objective should be to get people buying those products rather than going to competitors."

However, Target has from the start continued to allow Shipt to feature retailers that sell similar products. Supermarket chain Kroger and membership warehouse giant Costco are among the more than 60 national and regional retailers that customers can order from.

"Shipt operates a marketplace that serves a number of retailers, giving members choice and flexibility in getting everything they need in one service,'' Target said in an emailed statement.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Delivery going to the dogs? Petco products will soon be available through Target's Shipt