retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on how "subscription snack and food box businesses are popping up everywhere, hoping to cash in on America’s insatiable appetite for novelty, convenience and munchies ... Food businesses view the subscription services as a relatively inexpensive opportunity to get new products in front of consumers — and to get feedback and data fast."

The story notes that "the business is not so easy or lucrative, apparently. General Mills started a subscription snack box service, Nibblr, in 2014 — and closed it down a little more than a year later. Walmart, too, tried its hand at a food subscription service,, for about a year before shutting it down." But if there have been failures along the way, the Times also suggests that "the real business in food subscriptions may be in the data they generate on what consumers like." And that helps these companies develop broader marketing plans and flavor profiles that are in synch with the information being generated by the subscription services.
KC's View:
It was interesting to me that nowhere in this story was Amazon's Subscribe and Save service cited as perhaps the most successful such venture ever created, and certainly an initiative that has been a game-changer for Amazon.

I've always been a believer in such efforts ... subscription services allow retailers to build loyalty and sales by creating customer-friendly replenishment systems. I'm less interested in programs that send me new products than those that keep me supplied with the tried and true, though I also belong to three different wine clubs that essentially send me items I have not specifically asked for in a category for which I have a declared affinity.