If you’re like me, when it comes to home staples like paper towels and soap, you tend to buy the same brands over and over on fairly predictable replacement cycles.
This is something Amazon realized a couple years ago with the launch of the Dash replenishment platform and product subscriptions, and now Target is getting in on the replenishment game themselves with Fetch.
So what’s Fetch? It’s a new smart home powered replenishment platform developed by Target’s Open House innovation team that enables Target customers to subscribe to home consumables and then have them auto-ordered when they run out. What’s interesting about Fetch is it uses three sensor-enabled smart products -- including a paper towel dispenser, a soap dispenser and yes, a toilet paper spindle -- to figure out when a consumer is out of a given product and hit the reorder button. Fetch uses algorithms to predict when you’ll run out of product and, when it reorders, send a notification to your smartphone.
According to the product’s Indiegogo video (see below), the Fetch campaign is launching on May 1st. One obvious question I had is why is it being intro’d via Indieogogo? While I’m not entirely sure (we’ve reached out to Target to ask), my guess is this is a way for Target to essentially roll out a beta of the service before it’s rolled out to a wider audience.
There’s no question that this is an answer to Amazon’s Dash and subscription platforms. What’s interesting to me is Amazon seems to have moved away from the Dash button and replenishment platform and increasingly emphasizing voice (“Alexa”) and subscription ordering (including virtual Dash buttons). That said, I do think it makes sense for Target to start to think about ways to allow customers to subscribe to products online as more consumers transition to online shopping. 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 paper towels or any of the household basics.