Target takes on Amazon with expanded subscription service

Target (NYSE:TGT) is expanding its subscription service for frequently purchased items, increasing the number of products available from 200 to more than 1,500.

Target quietly launched the program in fall 2013 with a focus on baby, making diapers, formula, wipes and training pants available for automatic replenishment. Thanks to the its early success, the retailer is now expanding the service ahead of schedule.

Available items now include cleaning supplies, household goods, health and beauty aids and pet products. There will also be a small selection of home office items such as printer ink and select groceries including coffee pods.

And while the initial test was indeed quiet—Target did no advertising or marketing—the chain will now actively promote subscriptions with online banner ads and discounts, according to Target spokesman Eddie Baeb.

The retailer is offering subscribers a 5 percent discount on all orders, free shipping and an additional 5 percent off when shoppers pay with a Target Redcard.

The service, which quietly launched in September 2013 with a focus on baby-care products, grew quickly and now accounts for more than 15 percent of online sales for eligible items. The new expanded program will go beyond baby-care to include even more everyday essentials, such as cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids, pet treats and training pads.

The program goes head to head with Amazon's "Subscribe and Save" service. For the time being, orders will go through a Target fulfillment center, but as it grows ship from store could be an option, said Baeb.

For more:
-See this Target blog post
-See this FierceRetail story

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