USA – US retail company Target has bought US-based online same-day delivery platform Shipt for US$550 million, as it steps up its challenge to rivals Walmart and Amazon.

Shipt offers same-day delivery of.

Founded in 2014 and located in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt is a rapidly growing membership-based grocery marketplace and same-day delivery platform for groceries, essentials, home electronics and other products.

The service – which costs US$99 a year for unlimited deliveries – uses an extensive network of over 20,000 personal shoppers to fulfil orders from various retailers and deliver within hours.

“With Shipt’s network of local shoppers and their current market penetration, we will move from days to hours, dramatically accelerating our ability to bring affordable same-day delivery to guests across the country,” said Target COO John Milligan.

“By the 2018 holiday season, we will be servicing every major market across the country with same-day delivery, and Shipt’s service-oriented approach aligns well with Target’s commitment to delivering an exceptional shopping experience for our guests.”

“Partnering with Target and the national scale they provide allows Shipt to further accelerate our growth, bringing our service to more people, in more markets across the country,” said Shipt founder and CEO Bill Smith.

“We’ll continue growing our marketplace and membership base, working with a variety of retailers to drive scale and efficiencies.

We look forward to introducing Target guests to the convenience of our same-day delivery services, with the level of personal attention only Shipt can provide.”

Following completion of the deal, Shipt will be a wholly-owned Target subsidiary, and will continue to run its business independently.

It will also expand partnerships with other retailers seeking same-day, last-mile capabilities.

All current Shipt employees will continue to be employed by Shipt and will work from their current offices in Birmingham and San Francisco.