Jet.com today relaunched its brand and web site experience in an effort to offer consumers a unique assortment of brands and differentiated services in an increasingly crowded e-commerce environment — and fashion plays a key part in it.
All this is happening against the backdrop of Jet.com parent Walmart Inc.’s own digital reinvention. The retail giant, which in 2016 acquired Jet.com for $3.3 billion, has been trying to move from its roots as a low-price retailer to attract higher-income consumers with a marketplace and mall of better storefronts populated by the likes of Lord & Taylor and Moosejaw. Walmart and Jet.com have Amazon in their sights.
Jet.com said the transformation “signals the beginning of Jet.com’s strategy to rehumanize e-commerce and focus on customers in major metropolitan cities, making everyday shopping relevant, enjoyable and convenient. The experience provides a more intentional catalogue that’s personalized and relevant to shopping preferences of city customers across grocery, home, fashion, beauty and electronics.”
If applying the term humanize to digital commerce sound like an oxymoron, Simon Belsham, Jet.com’s president, said, “Even though we’re an online portal, we’re people-led and tech-enabled, so we’re building experiences customers love and trust backed by strong values. For Jet, that means offering a more tailored shopping experience combined with a unique assortment of great brands in a way that brings empathy back into e-commerce.”
Jet also believes it can tap into consumers’ psyches and foster emotional connections by displaying community-centric and localized imagery and messages on the homepage and throughout the site. For example, Jet.com said it’s supporting local and small businesses in New York such as Bedford Cheese Shop, Pat LaFrieda meats, Orwashers Bakery, Just Bagels. Ordering local craft, ultracraft and domestic and premium imported beer online with same-day and next-day delivery will be available in the coming months.
While Walmart.com is reaching for more affluent consumers, Belsham stressed that Jet.com remains committed to urban customers, a group its larger parent hasn’t been able to crack. Walmart is stronger in rural and suburban markets. “We attract leading brands like Apple and Nike as well as local brands like Big Gay Ice Cream and Roberta’s, and premium brands like Foreo and Oribe,” he said.
More intelligent personalization and voice activation offering smarter product recommendations that prioritize shoppers’ preferences and provide timely reorder suggestions by predicting the need to restock are key aspects of the new site. IoS consumers can use voice activation to build shopping lists on Jet.com’s mobile app, prompting Siri to put paper towels on the grocery list, for example.
Walmart.com as part of its upgrade features higher-quality imagery for home and fashion. Jet.com’s site has its own visual enhancements. Like The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, whose ceiling morphs from day to night, Jet.com’s web site transitions from a day-to-night theme.
“The way consumers shop for food is fundamentally different from the way they shop for furniture or fashion,” Belsham said. “Recognizing that shopping behaviors and needs shift across categories, Jet offers intentionally designed experiences that flex to accommodate shopping preferences.”
Asked whether Jet.com is shifting its focus from metro areas, Belsham said, “Jet continues to build momentum among urban consumers across major metropolitan markets, including New York. Jet.com’s relaunch is rolling out in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.”
Fashion features top trends with an editorial point of view across key fashion categories. “When we were designing the experience, we focused on catering to busy city consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles with fashion that’s fit for all occasions, from work to workouts and weekend getaways,” Belsham said. For launch, a trend Jet.com calls Borrowed From the Boys features ModCloth’s belted plaid coat, $129; Sanctuary leather skirt, $36.11, and Kendall & Kylie mohair blend pullover, $164.95. The site clearly has some building out to do since there are less than 80 items offered for this trend.
The initial assortment includes hundreds of products across apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and children, including brands such as Birkenstock, Dr. Martens and ModCloth.
“We are excited that we’ll be partnering with Nike to create a curated and consumer-centric experience for shoppers,” Belsham said. “Consumers will have access to Nike and Converse products in a fully branded experience. As we continue to grow our fashion category, we’ll be seeking to partner with other favorite consumer brands along the lines of Nike and Converse.”
Jet’s beauty experience features elevated brands and a discovery-driven experience with national brands for beauty essentials and prestige beauty products such as Oribe, Dr. Brandt, Clarisonic, Foreo, Art of Shaving, R+Co, Korres, Mario Badescu, T3 Micro, SkinMedica, Baxter of California, Rituals and UMA. Jet worked with Glow Recipe to create a Curated by Glow Recipe experience.
“Grocery has been, and will continue to be, a key category for Jet,” Belsham said, noting that the company is opening a warehouse in the Bronx. “We’re excited to roll out Jet’s city grocery experience, which will include three-hour scheduled same-day and next-day delivery windows for groceries, everyday essentials and other select merchandise to be delivered to consumers’ homes; customized delivery options. For example, you can say, ‘leave the package with the doorman,’ for more convenient delivery accommodations, and a freshness guarantee. Groceries are delivered in recyclable, insulated bags to ensure freshness for up to three hours.”
Jet.com’s market share has declined slightly since its acquisition by Walmart. The retail giant’s chief executive officer Doug McMillan has said the cost of acquiring a new consumer on a nationwide basis is cheaper for the Walmart brand, “so we’ve been investing more in Walmart.com on a national basis and reducing marketing investment in Jet, except in certain urban markets.”
Walmart is now investing in the brand’s biggest advertising and marketing campaign, “Our Carts Are Different Here,” which shows Jet’s importance to the lives of city-dwellers by telling their stories in uniquely city environments. Another side of the campaign features product visuals to tell stories via TV, radio, online, social media, transit and billboards.