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Amazon said last week that its Subscribe & Save automatic replenishment program for shoppers "has passed more than $1 billion in savings to customers worldwide in the last 12 months."

Amazon said that "the program has tens of millions of global subscribers with hundreds of millions of subscriptions, which also saves customers time. That’s tens of millions of customers never running out of the things they reorder most, like coffee, diapers, dog food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies - even socks."

KC's View:

I've been a Subscribe & Save customer since 2007, and probably have several dozen subscriptions for a wide variety of products - all of them items that I used to buy in supermarkets, and all of them items for which there is absolutely no advantage to shopping for them in a physical environment.  

Which means that when I go to the store, I'm almost always shopping for products for which there actually is an advantage to a bricks-and-mortar environment.  

I've always believed - and have written here - that this is an enormous opportunity for traditional retailers to provide a valuable service to shoppers that actually cements relationships.  Amazon has used Subscribe & Save as a competitive advantage, and maybe not even to the degree that it should have.  (Why it has not extended it into its Whole Foods business makes no sense to me.)

Now, let me be both clear and transparent about something.  Tom Furphy, who collaborates with me on The Innovation Conversation here on MNB, led the team that built Subscribe & Save at Amazon, and since leaving has put together a team that built Replenium, which is sort of like Subscribe & Save for everyone else, except with some functionality that Amazon doesn't have.  I'm a believer in the business case for shopper-centric automatic replenishment, and I'm obviously a longtime and satisfied user of the Amazon version of this business.  So, put aside my friendship with Tom - I remain utterly convinced that this is one of the next great business models of which retailers should take advantage.