business news in context, analysis with attitude

Albertsons today said that it has launched a new consumer auto-replenishment program, dubbed Schedule & Save, in select markets, with plans to roll it out nationally.

Albertsons describes the offering as a "new auto-replenishment offering online so loyalty members can ensure their grocery and household essentials always remain in-stock. Developed with convenience-seekers in mind, the new offering automates the task of routine shopping. This allows customers to automatically replenish their more frequently purchased items across categories in a way that is adaptable to every lifestyle. The products scheduled for purchase will be offered at an attractive discounted price, reflecting significant savings off the average shelf price, available for pick-up or delivery.

"Currently available to select Safeway customers in northern California, Schedule & Save was developed in partnership with auto-replenishment and predictive shopping platform Replenium. In 2022, Albertsons Cos. plans to expand the program nationwide and include a continuous expanding list of items for members to add for auto-replenishment."

Full disclosure:  Replenium's CEO is Tom Furphy, who engages with MNB readers in "The Innovation Conversation" here every other week.  Including above, where he and the Content Guy discuss this move by Albertsons.

Albertsons also said it is launching a new Meal Plans feature that "provides an easy, convenient and personalized way to plan meals and cook recipes that is unrivaled in the market. Members have access to thousands of delicious, shoppable recipes developed by professional chefs and dietitians that are curated and refined based on taste and dietary preferences … Members can break out of that food rut and complete their weekly shopping in less than 10 minutes with the option for pick-up and delivery, or in-store shopping."

KC's View:

Tom and I spend part of this week's Innovation Conversation talking about Albertsons' new Schedule & Save program, as powered by Replenium.  But let me add a couple of notes here.

Amazon's pioneering version of this program, Subscribe & Save, was launched more than a dozen years ago, and I was an early adopter.  One of the earliest items I bought via Subscribe & Save was Tide laundry detergent, and since I created that subscription, I don't think I have ever bought laundry detergent at a store other than Amazon, and I don't think I've bought a laundry detergent other than Tide.  Subscribe & Save created both brand and retailer loyalty - and we now have added a couple of dozen other items to the program.

In addition to creating that loyalty, an auto-replenishment program also has the potential for allowing retailers to give greater focus - physically, financially, and thematically - to items and categories that differentiate them.

I argue all this not because Tom's business, Replenium, has been designed to offer Subscribe & Save to retail businesses not named Amazon, but because I've seen it work, and would feel this way even if I'd never met Tom Furphy.