Auto-Replenishment: Smart Packaging that Really Delivers

Sometimes a solution is so simple that it just makes sense right out of the gate. Auto-replenishment is such a solution. Whilst consumers may love going to the store to select a new pair of shoes, that perfect purse or the ideal outfit, few, if any, enjoy the chore of going to the store and lugging home heavy bottles of detergent, bags of diapers or coffee refills. Auto-replenishment systems use smart packaging to sense when a preset level drops below a certain point, informing the user and offering a simple one-click option to buy a refill. That refill can then be delivered to the home of the user before it runs out.

Beyond the simple benefit to the consumer, auto-replenishment offers a whole lot of added value to the brand, starting with new levels of customer loyalty. Creating a simple route to repurchase allows brands to avoid having to compete for consumers’ attention in-store each time a product runs low. This builds a level of comfort and habit for the consumer, and in turn stickiness for the brand. 

Once you have a digital feature or a sensor in a product, you have data. Data is the rocket fuel that thrusts products, business models and industries. Smart packaging delivers data to the brand, and this is where it gets exciting. Armed with insightful user data, a brand can see how the habits of their users vary depending on criteria like demographics, region and time. This valuable user data can be used to predict demand, refine product design, test new features or lines, or perhaps drive special marketing promotions or offers.

Once data is present, a brand can create an ecosystem, or participate in an existing one, like the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service (DRS), for which Jabil Packaging Solutions was recently named a solutions provider. Launched in April 2014, the DRS solution, which provides auto-replenishment to customers with the simple press of a button, has gained steady traction year over year. By early 2017, Dash-initiated transactions jumped to four orders per minute — quadruple the previous year’s rate. And the Dash Button has shown that re-order convenience has a measurable impact on product sales as well. Brands like Peet’s Coffee and Ziploc see more than 50 percent of their Amazon sales via the Dash Button, and Cottonelle’s share of wallet in the bath tissue category doubled from 43 to 86 percent among Dash users in 2016 alone.

Not bad for the consumer, and even more valuable for the brands who stay front and center with consumers and gain access to vital data for improved experiences and enhanced revenue opportunities. 

Given this, it’s no wonder the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service is so successful – with 150 products offered through a Dash button today. Ecosystems are a game-changer for many brands, converting consumers into a community of loyal users, beta testers and, in some cases, brand ambassadors. Simple apps, on the ubiquitous smartphone, deliver the simple convenience of one-touch ordering to every consumer. Further, they enable consumers to rate or comment on products, connect directly to social media, receive offers, take part in surveys, test new lines from the brands they enjoy, earn loyalty rewards, bonuses and much more. 

But for the consumer, all the bells and whistles fade into insignificance against two simple benefits. One, never running out of a product you love and/or need. And two, not having to go to the store and pick it up – all giving the consumer back his or her most valuable resource – time!