Jet.com is a different animal than it was 12 months ago.
If Jet.com had been a hippo, selling bulk paper goods and cleaning products, it’s now a more graceful giraffe, focusing on long-tail categories that founder and chief executive officer Marc Lore identified as fashion, apparel and shoes, beauty and fragrance.
While much of Jet.com’s GMV may still come from such unglamorous products as laundry detergent, the e-tailer is committed to making inroads in the long-tail and is on the hunt for more acquisitions, including digital native brands, category killers and specialty retailers. “It wouldn’t be TVs or diapers,” Lore said.
Wal-Mart Inc.-owned Jet.com has always been known for consumables. “There was a huge influx of traffic to buy detergent, toilet paper and all those things you need for your home,” said David Echegoyen, vice president of marketing at Jet.com. “Fast forward a year later. For us to be able to see the amount of demand we’re generating for beauty, fragrances and toys is amazing.”
Jet.com’s entree to long-tail categories has largely been achieved through acquisitions. Modcloth, Moosejaw and Shoes.com, the digital native brands acquired by Wal-Mart, are being leveraged this holiday season. Those site’s brands appear on Jet.com, which targets urban and metro consumers with slightly higher incomes than those of the parent site, and as of now, are not sold on walmart.com. Wal-Mart’s Bonobos acquisition hasn’t gone live yet on Jet.com.
Wal-Mart is far from finished buying digital native brands. “We will have a ton of new deals. There’s nothing I can talk about now. There’s a team that’s not within Jet.com that reports to Marc Lore [who also holds the title of ceo of Wal-Mart U.S. e-commerce],” said Echegoyen, adding that the group does nothing but look for brands that are ripe for acquisition. “The idea is how do we continue to grow a healthy e-commerce business that just serves more customers. The idea behind the acquisitions has been about where can we step up with the acquisitions and gain relationships. As long as we continue to do that, we’ll do more acquisitions.”
Echegoyen said Jet’s marketing team worked with the marketing teams of the digital native brands “to make sure we were sourcing the right items for holiday. We had to decide what items would be sold on walmart.com, and not on Jet, and what products would only be sold on Jet and not on walmart.com. It was the whole U.S. e-commerce strategy. Luckily we have a clear idea of each site’s customer.
Jet.com has sold “a ton of Ugg, Bear Paw, Hunter and Sorel boots,” Echegoyen said. Styles on the site include Ugg Aya waterproof boots, $349.95; Bearpaw women’s Boetis, $149.95; Hunter original tall rain boots, $99, and Sorel Danica women’s short booties, $175.
“Meet Modcloth” a banner said, announcing the brand’s arrival on Jet.com, where items include, a Graceful Grandeur maxidress in ivory, $299; Looking Luxe lace maxi dress in pine, $199; Floral Vine embroidered maxi dress, $149, and Timeless pleated A-line dress in poppy, $34.99.
“The idea behind buying those retailers was that they would become the category leaders in categories we share,” Echegoyen said.
Watches, including styles by Michael Kors, have sold well, according to Echegoyen, as have beauty products, including the Baby Foot Easy Pack Exfoliant Foot Peel, 2.4-ounces for $15.49, with hundreds ordered. Other strong sellers were the Art of Shaving 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave, full size kit, $72, and T3 Featherweight compact folding dryer in soft pink, $99.
For the first time, Jet.com took an editorial approach to “curating and segmenting products by lifestyle and price. We have gifts for the techie, gifts for the homebody, and so on. Gift categories are a lot easier to relate to,” Echegoyen said, adding that products are also segmented by dollar amount, such as under $25 and under $500. For big spenders, there’s Mimi & Max ‘s Signature Collection 18-karat white gold and 53 4/5-carat total-weight diamond flower cluster necklace for $158,589.
Jet.com decided to highlight the holiday’s big and small moments since its diverse urban and metro customer base required a message with broad appeal, Echegoyen said, adding that the site recognized consumers celebrate the holidays differently, from family ugly sweater parties to epic Christmas Eve dinners.
An odd holiday phenomenon where customers who typically use the Jet.com app to buy weekly groceries and household products, snapped up big-ticket holiday deals with it. “During Cyber Week, we saw the [regularly purchased] products trumped by Playstation 4, with the number-two item in shoppers’ carts being toilet paper and paper towels,” Echegoyen said. “People were coming in and not even thinking of their cyber deals.”
Jet.com conducted a survey of more than 2,000 consumers to get a sense of their holiday shopping habits and preferences. The study, which has a “tell us how you really feel” tone, uncovered such factoids as women are intimidated by the thought of gifting their in-laws and regifting is widespread. The most-requested gift is cold, hard cash.