It’s Target Versus Amazon in the Battle for Moms

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Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Target wants its moms back. This week, Target rolled out a new diaper-delivery plan and a family friendly on-demand video streaming option. Both services are aimed at wooing moms—in particular, moms who might otherwise give their business to Amazon.

While rivalries among competing retailers are rarely friendly, and Target have a history of confrontation. Target has been one of the most aggressive retailers in the battle against “showrooming,” the practice in which a shopper browses in a store (such as Target) before ultimately purchasing the item through an e-retailer (most likely, Amazon). Over the years, Target has attempted to undercut Amazon book prices during the peak holiday shopping period, and it stopped selling the Amazon Kindle as a direct diss to the world’s largest online retailer. More recently, Target announced that its price-matching policy—which includes matching the online prices offered by Amazon—would be permanent.

Now, after watching loads of customers (moms especially) desert it for Amazon’s cheap prices, free delivery, and subscription services, Target appears to be doubling down on getting those shoppers back. On Thursday, Target introduced a diaper subscription service that allows parents to order diapers as well as around 150 other baby and infant products (but not food) on a recurring basis via the Target website. Goods can be shipped free of charge in intervals ranging from four to 12 weeks. Target says that consumers who participate can save up to 15%, plus another 5% off for customers who use Target’s REDcard to pay for orders.

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While the service will help customers avoid taking regular trips to Target to stock up on baby supplies, the retailer obviously still hopes that shoppers show up to stores to browse. “Think of all the extra space you’ll have in that red shopping cart… for clothes, home décor – and, oh yeah, the baby,” a company blog post announcing the new service states. This, of course, is one of the big upsides promised by any online shopping option, including Amazon. “There are certainly other options in the marketplace and it’s one that [shoppers] expect Target to have,” Casey Carl, Target’s president of multichannel, said in relation to its new subscription service in an interview with Reuters.

Carl didn’t name Amazon specifically, but Target clearly has Amazon in mind with its new service. Moms control the majority of family spending, and they represent Target’s core demographic. The Amazon Mom program, which promises 20% off diapers and wipes for recurring orders and free two-day shipping, has proved enormously popular. In 2010, Amazon purchased Quidsi and, which also offers an automatic recurring shipping service.

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Target’s new subscription plan is a strategy to woo those customers back, or just convince them to stick with Target for their baby needs.

Unlike the Amazon Mom program, which costs $79 annually and includes membership in Amazon Prime, Target’s service is free. What’s more, the same week that Target launched the subscription plan, it introduced another service similar to one offered by Amazon. Target Ticket is an on-demand video streaming/download service that is “more like those of iTunes and Amazon Instant Video than Netflix,” as Fast Company puts it. While, Amazon’s streaming service is included in an Amazon Prime member’s $79 annual fee, Target Ticket customers pay no money up front and instead rent or purchase a la carte a choice of some 30,000 movies and 50 TV shows, available starting the day after they’ve first aired. New customers get 10 free downloads, and after that rentals start at 99¢.

While the service could be appealing for any consumer who might otherwise stream or download video via services from Amazon, iTunes, Walmart, or Best Buy, Target Ticket is particularly focused on parent and family market. “Target Ticket will help guests who are looking for a kid-safe, easy-to-use service that mirrors what they have come to expect from Target’s entertainment offerings,” explained Anne Stanchfield, divisional merchandise manager of entertainment at Target, according to Supermarket News. Users can quickly and easily filter content according to age-appropriateness and level of violence and sex, Target promises.

Yet again, Target is trying to send the message: “We have you and your family’s best interests at heart.” Not to mention: “Spend your money with us.”