Grocery Subscriptions – Why they fail and what most people don’t get….

Grocery Subscriptions - Why they fail and what most people don't get....

Walmart has introduced a new subscription service, competing directly with Amazon‘s Subscribe & Save program, offering regular shipments of various products, including food, paper products, and pet supplies, with 15%.

But this summer, the rather awesome ‘big, bulking and boring’ product subscription website Bother shut down in the UK. Even though it reduced the number of clicks to re-order a cart of 10 items from 60 (at Tesco) to under 10 at Bother. Bother was onto something, but the money ran out…

The problem is, most subscription services – hello Walamrt and Amazon – think that all you need for success is:

• A 5-15% discount
• A range of re-ordering frequencies from a week to 6 months

And people will automatically use a ‘subscribe & save’ feature.

What they miss is that those factors are just ‘table stakes’. To make a service like this work, you also need:

1. A way of helping people navigate an online shop so that ‘big, bulky and boring items’ are grouped together into one shopping zone, while fresh, frozen, tinned etc foods are in a separate area.

2. A differentiated UX so that subscribe and save is seen as the obvious choice.

3. An updated marketing campaign and onboaring process to show shoppers how the UX has improved to make storecupboard/’big, bulky, boring’ item ordering easier within the existing website and app.

Note: Most retailers don’t do these steps as:

• they are seen as potential confusing… but, hello, split test it

• they don’t think ‘big’ and holistically enough

• they forget to put the shopper at the heart of any new initiative

• they can’t get the key stakeholders to buy into the idea and sign it off

However, to make Walmart’s subscribe feature to be a valuable  to shoppers, this is what Walmart needs to do.

Bonus points: Add this feature into Walmart+ first to trial it with loyal fans.

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