Target is gearing up to test a new service that relies on devices inside the home to monitor and order items such as toilet paper and paper towels when supplies get low.
According to a report in CNET, the service, which will be subscription-based, is called Target Fetch. The retailer is launching a campaign on May 1 on Indiegogo, the crowdfunding site, to get 250 beta testers in the United States.
To enable the service, Target will roll out Bluetooth-enabled household devices, such as a toilet paper spindle, power towel holder and hand soap pump, which will also have built-in sensors. Users connect the devices to the Fetch app, and then answer questions about how much toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap they have in stock and what brands they use. The sensors then keep track of how much is used. Over time, the app learns about the consumers’ usage habits, and will send an alert 10 days before it thinks a product will run out. If the user does nothing, the app will order the item from Target and send it with free shipping.
The Target Fetch Indiegogo campaign will provide different ways for consumers to be part of the beta testing. CNET noted that on average, it will cost around $40, and testers should receive the units in October. Target said it plans to use the information from the early tests to determine whether they will take the service forward.
“We’re always exploring and testing new products and services in an effort to create a differentiated assortment, elevate our shopping experience and meet guest needs now and into the future,” Target said in a statement.
While reordering products automatically isn’t anything new (see Amazon.com), what sets this service apart is that the technology is in the devices themselves. And because everyday items are used, the idea of having them shipped automatically becomes more appealing, noted the report.