| Sept 25
Sept 25 Target Corp will launch a free
service on Wednesday that lets shoppers set up recurring
deliveries of bulky baby goods, a move that mimics Amazon.com
Inc and is aimed at attracting more moms.
Target has a battle ahead since it is not the first to offer
such delivery, and for now is only selling 150 items such as
diapers, baby wipes and formula.
"There are certainly other options in the marketplace and
it's one that they expect Target to have," Casey Carl, Target's
president of multichannel, said in an interview.
After shoppers told Target they wanted a recurring delivery
service, the retailer decided to start with baby products since
new mothers are an important group of customers for the
retailer. It could expand into more categories, based on demand.
The U.S. birthrate has declined in recent years,
intensifying competition among mass merchants such as Target,
specialty shops led by Toys R Us Inc's Babies R Us and
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc's buybuy BABY as well as websites
including Amazon.com and its Diapers.com unit.
Target is the largest bricks-and-mortar retailer to offer a
service dedicated to baby goods. For now, Target Subscriptions
will not offer baby food. Most of its orders will be sent via
United Parcel Service Inc.
Diapers.com has let shoppers sign up for automatic shipping
for recurring orders since September 2012. The number of
customers using the feature has been growing at an average of 30
percent month over month, the company said.
Some of its most popular items for auto shipping are
diapers, formula, wipes and baby food, Diapers.com said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Walmart.com has been testing a
subscription service called Goodies since November that sends
boxes of snacks starting at $7 per month, but would not say how
many subscribers it has.
Amazon Prime, which debuted in February 2005, offers express
shipping on 15 million items for members who pay a $79 annual
fee, and includes free streaming of movies and television shows.
Amazon Mom and Amazon Student, which have specialized offers and
discounts, are free for the first few months, then cost $79 and
$39 per year, respectively. Amazon did not disclose membership
numbers but said it has millions of Prime members.
Minneapolis-based Target would not discuss sales or profit
goals for its venture, which has been tested by employees.
Households with children spend about 20 percent more each year
at Target than those without children, the chain told Reuters
when it began testing an updated baby section in 10 stores this