Target Launches Fetch Replenishment Program
Target will begin to test a service that uses Bluetooth-connected household devices to monitor your supply of toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap, and automatically order more when consumers need them. The replenishment program is called Target Fetch, and the retailer will launch a campaign May 1 on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to solicit 250 beta testers in the U.S. Here's how Target Fetch will work: consumers will receive a toilet paper spindle, paper towel holder and soap pump that are all Bluetooth-enabled and equipped with sensors. The consumers connect each device to the Target Fetch app and answer some questions within the app about how much toilet paper, paper towels and soap they have on hand and what brands they prefer. The sensors in each product will keep track of how much of each item you use, and the app will use algorithms to learn about your usage. A consumer will receive an alert 10 days before the app predicts they will run out of a certain product. If you choose not to intervene, Target Fetch will automatically order what you need from Target.com and ship it to you for free (the consumer still has to pay for the actual product). The Target Fetch/Indiegogo campaign, which was first reported by The Spoon, will offer different options for how you can participate in the beta testing, and it will cost an average of $40. Target will begin to ship the devices to participants in October.
Total Retail's Take: You may be feeling like you've heard this news before. Why? Because it's very similar to something Amazon.com launched a couple years ago with Amazon Dash buttons. Target's replenishment program seems to be an answer to Dash. What differentiates Target Fetch is that it's putting the auto-replenishment technology into kitchen and bathroom items that you already use. What’s interesting to me is Amazon seems to have moved away from the Dash button in favor of voice (“Alexa”) and subscription ordering (including virtual Dash buttons). However, it makes sense for Target to start to think about ways to allow customers to make shopping with the retailer as simple as possible, both in-store and online. Combine Fetch with Target’s same-day delivery service, Shipt, (which is expanding to more cities) and it’s easy to imagine never running out of household basics again.