for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up "Mom" program bids for newborn loyalty

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc is offering free shipping and other perks on baby items such as diapers to attract new consumers to its growing subscription service in a burgeoning market.

The program, called Amazon Mom, is aimed at new mothers, a consumer segment short on time and often cash. The service competes with relatively new entrants in the online baby market, such as, as well as established brick and mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Costco Wholesale Corp, whose customers buy items that can be replenished in bulk.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has been expanding product lines as it tries to get more of its shoppers to sign up for subscription programs, which the company says fosters loyalty to the site.

Having a subscriber base also allows Amazon to better plan its ordering from product manufacturers and other logistics.

The company has attributed its double-digit growth to its “relentless” focus on the consumer, who has come to expect low prices, free shipping and convenience from online retailers. Amazon’s revenue rose 41 percent in its most recent second quarter.

Amazon Mom, which is free to join, offers the company’s discount shipping program Amazon Prime -- in which customers pay $79 for unlimited, free two-day shipping -- for three months.

Additionally, Amazon is offering a 30 percent discount on diapers and wipes to consumers who sign up for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program for consumable items.

Subscribers to the program, launched in 2007, get their products delivered on a schedule set by them, and receive a 15 percent discount.

“We sell a great deal of diapers and wipes and the new mom discussion boards and on our site talk about the great subscribe and save offers for diapers and wipes,” said Doug Herrington, Amazon’s vice president of consumables. “So we decided to focus on the area we’re strong on now.”

Herrington said Amazon is working with its vendors to offer discounts and other special offers on other goods relevant to new mothers.

The company plans to offer discounts under the Amazon Mom program beyond just diapers and wipes.

A brouhaha over diapers erupted earlier this year, as dissatisfied Pampers buyers took to social media sites such as Facebook to protest a new product line they said caused rashes.

Pampers maker Procter & Gamble Co lost market share to rival Kimberly-Clark Corp, but two safety groups later found no specific cause linking the diapers to rashes.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by Richard Chang, Carol Bishopric and Andre Grenon