Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Supermarket subscription

fixed monthly fee and you shop on credit or save
 
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Supermarket accepts a shopping list in whatever form and has the goods waiting for you when you want. You pay a fixed monthly fee for your shopping so you can control your expenses. If you spend less, you get an interest on your money in the hands of the supermarket. If you spend more, you pay for the credit. The creditrate is deducted from your fee.

It's most of all about convenience, more than anything else. You can call with your shopping list, you can hand the scribbled shoppinglist over at the shop, you can e-mail it, you can fax an old cashreceipt, you can say you want the same as last week, or last tuesday. Or just what most people like you buy.

For the supermarket this means more loyalty, money they can have fun with (invest), less money/transaction expenses (security, transport, administration of it).

The supermarket has to hire some people who do nothing else but dealing with these orders. Understanding the shopping lists, calling you back to check something etc. You get to know them and you can ask for certain people if you know they do a good job.

When you pick up your order at the supermarket you can briefly walk around to see if there is something new you want. But the bulk of your shopping is done, only some 'funshopping' remains.

rrr, Jan 25 2003

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       I'm seeing two ideas here. One is to have an ongoing "tab" with the supermarket with monthly payments. The other is to have the people who shop for you, collecting items to a list of your specifications.   

       The first seems pretty pointless; that's what credit cards are for.   

       The second is Baked lots of places, though they're not so good at the "what I had last Tuesday" or "what everyone else is getting" (that last sounds like a disaster). It's often combined with delivery service. Online is the right place to do it (where you *can* keep track of "what I had last Tuesday") and lots of places do that too.
egnor, Jan 25 2003
  

       Actually, there is a market incentive for this in the way of forging consumer loyalty that the credit cards lack, unless they're specifically issued by the market. In my vincinity, there's about a zillion different stores, and everyone has club cards for each it seems.
RayfordSteele, Jan 25 2003
  

       Baked like crazy. There are three companies that instantly pop up here. Peapod.com (online grocery shopping and delivery), Quixtar.com (it's actually Amway, so you probably shouldn't even go to the site-they'll be watching you...), and the giant of them all Webvan.com. They all offer automated ordering and delivery based on what you usually order. Peapod takes it the extra mile with a 'customized' site similar to the way Amazon does it (which is really quite cool). For example, if you are buying jelly, peanut butter ads/dicounts will be seen on the site. The ultimate in loyalty; the order is automatically placed for you!
bensini, Jan 25 2003
  

       At least in my country it is not baked. At supermarkets you can't pay with credit cards.   

       The subscription idea is also to make yourself stick to your own budget. Credit cards are there so you can spend more than you can afford.   

       In my country online services don't survive because we have the highest density of supermarkets in the world in our densely populated country, the Netherlands. We had two, one is now bankrupt, the other one is linked to the largest supermarket chain. Barely profitable, a niche market.   

       People still prefer to pick up their shopping at the supermarket. You just don't want to waste time there.   

       Delivery services don't work well here because there are no doormen.   

       In this approach it is not centralised and automated like Peopod etc. You have one contact at your own supermarket and you can call him whenever you want. Or e-mail, SMS, fax, voicemail, whatever. When you drop by at the store, he hands you your shopping, even brings it to your vehicle if you want.
rrr, Jan 26 2003
  

       The subscription bit sounds similar to what many utility companies in the US do, called budget billing. Many electricity and fuel providers do this. You pay a flat rate every month, and actual usage is tallied. At the end of the year, if the usage amount is higher, you pay the difference; lower and you get a credit (some will actually send you a check).   

       I have trouble seeing how this could apply to grocery bill though. You'd have to be pretty sure you spent the same amount every month.
waugsqueke, Jan 27 2003
  

       Baked. Costco.
8th of 7, Jan 28 2003
  
      
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