Shipt is an internet-enabled grocery delivery service founded in 2014 by Bill Smith. It uses a smartphone app and website to allow subscribers to shop for groceries online, which are then purchased and delivered by freelance workers. The service works with retailers' inventory management systems to coordinate offerings. It operates at Publix, Kroger, H-E-B, Western, Costco and various other major retailers in specific markets.
When it was first launched, Shipt specialized in same-day delivery from retailers like the Apple Store, Macy's, Target, Best Buy, Staples, Toys R Us, Schaeffer Eye Center and Home Depot. Customers at that stage would buy directly from the store's website, and select in-story pickup, specifying that a "Shipt Pilot" would be picking it up for delivery. After testing a "Shipt Meals" service with little success, and grocery deliveries with greater success, the company quickly transitioned to focus on the latter.
Shipt's offices are located in the John Hand building on 1st Avenue North and 20th Street in downtown Birmingham. It began on the 6th floor, but has expanded to multiple floors in the historic skyscraper. The privately-owned company raised $20 million in investment capital in 2016 and progressively expanded to 20 cities. The fast-growing company, with 70 main office employees, added a large illuminated sign at the top of the John Hand building.
Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods spurred more retailers to partner with delivery services, and Shipt soon began operating in as many as 72 cities. In late 2017 the business was acquired by Target, Inc. for $550 million. The subsidiary's headquarters offices remained Birmingham. In 2018 Shipt secured public incentives from Birmingham, Jefferson County and the State of Alabama for expansion of its operations in the city that could add as many as 881 new jobs. The city's five-year investment would involve Shipt's participation in Birmingham's "Talent Investment Program", "Talent Acceleration Program" and "Talent Optimization Program" to reimburse some of the company's costs to recruit and train workers.
- Davis, Bryan (February 6, 2015) "Birmingham's Shipt launches in John Hand building." Birmingham Business Journal
- Poe, Kelly (May 23, 2016) "Shipt adds name to Birmingham skyline." The Birmingham News
- Alexander, Alan (July 27, 2016) "Meet an Emerging Influencer of Birmingham: Shipt's Bill Smith." Birmingham Business Journal
- Giammona, Craig (December 12, 2017) "The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Is Turning Out to Be Good for Delivery Startups." Bloomberg
- Wahba, Phil (December 13, 2017) "Target To Acquire Shipt for $550 Million to Speed Up Same-Day Delivery." Fortune
- Thornton, William (July 9, 2018) "Shipt could hire 881 as part of Birmingham expansion." The Birmingham News
- Koplowitz, Howard (July 10, 2018) "Birmingham City Council approves Shipt incentives to keep company's HQ in Magic City." The Birmingham News
- Shipt website