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Thu May 31 2018 21:09:16

Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

By: Ina Steiner

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Walmart is a go-to store for many busy parents looking to save money. But its new Jetblack service is targeting a very different demographic: urban parents who are willing to pay $50/month for the convenience of concierge shopping and delivery.

The appeal is not just being able to text an order and have it delivered quickly - Jetblack wants to become intimately acquainted with their customers, keeping detailed profiles, so it can offer personalized service. 

Jetblack "onboards" customers to learn their preferences and will even send someone to your home to scan barcodes and take photos of your products, if you desire.

That takes personalization further than any other retailer, but consumers today have proven they're willing to sacrifice privacy for convenience in many areas of their lives, including online shopping.

Jetblack appears to be available only in New York City as of now. It has a 30-day returns policy (if the item is in its original packaging), and offers the following benefits:

- Personal shopping over text message
- Fast and free delivery (same or next day for most items)
- Courier delivery in lightweight, recyclable bags
- Free gift wrapping and handwritten gift cards
- Curated recommendations
- On-demand access to category experts
- Competitive pricing on all items
- Hassle-free returns - we'll pick it up!
- NO minimum spend (including rush)

Jetblack was launched by Walmart's incubation arm called Store No 8. Its CEO Jenny Fleiss (pictured) is no stranger to women shoppers - she co-founded Rent the Runway, a successful marketplace for renting designer clothing. 

Not only are "life essentials one text away" with Jetblack, but the company will select and send presents for your friends and family for you - "Our gifting specialists have found the best presents for every age, gender, and interest. Each one comes beautifully wrapped with a card and can be delivered to you or the guest of honor. Hosting a party? We can also find the best themed party favors and will even assemble the gift bags for you."

The question is not whether this will become popular with mainstream shoppers - given the pricing, that seems unlikely and not the goal. Jetblack is targeted at urban shoppers who find going to stores less convenient than suburban shoppers, especially with kids in tow, also allowing them to offload certain chores. 

Rather, are enough of those types of shoppers willing to pay for the service? (How many are needed to make the service viable? And if it succeeds in New York City, does that guarantee it will play in Peoria?)

A recent report from Kobie Marketing highlights generational preferences, and while the report focused on loyalty programs, there are some findings that may shed light on how younger generations feel about shopping programs.

"More than other age groups, Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) value convenience and perks (28 percent of Millennials selected this). Millennials say they want status, but even more, they want perks like cutting wait times. They're the ones skipping the line at Starbucks because they've already ordered ahead via Starbucks Rewards - and they'll be first to claim their free birthday Frappuccino."

Jetblack's $50 monthly fee includes fast and free delivery with no minimum spend, the equivalent of about 10 - 12 caramel Frappuccinos, which may be far less than its target audience spends at Starbucks in a month.

While Jetblack may seem perplexing to many, it may be the whipped topping on the frozen coffee for others. As long as you get their order right, privacy is no object.



Comments (13) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 31 21:21:53 2018

Whoa!!  I guess I am too old...this is WAY too much in my business!

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

This user has validated their user name. by: Beanie

Thu May 31 21:43:50 2018

Alexa, Echo, Siri, Amazon entering homes to deliver, now Walmart wanting to enter our homes. Sounds like a lot of spying going on to me. I don't know about you, but I don't want any of this and if in the near future this becomes the norm, well, I'll be going back the brick and mortar stores. These companies want to control sellers and buyers lock, stock and barrel, privacy be damned according to them. And here is something I've been noticing lately. Whenever I search the internet for any product, I of course get ads relating to what I've searched for. But when I watch TV, I've been getting commercials that closely relate to what I searched for not long after I did the search on the internet. I have an older model Sony TV from about 2007, not a smart TV, mind you. But I have the same cable and internet provider. Has anyone else noticed this? Really has raised my eyebrows a bit!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Jun 1 00:57:35 2018

I imagine the millennials will be delighted to relinquish more privacy and personal data in exchange for "convenience."

Personally, the idea of Amazon, Walmart, and ebafia home invaders could have easily been a part of a 21st century "Brave New World."

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 1 06:32:19 2018

I can't stand even stepping into a Walmart (worst customer experiences ever) so why oh why would I want their "concierge" service.

"life essentials one text away"...."Millennials say they want status"......."they're the ones skipping the line at Starbucks".    We are talking about Walmart, right?  Sounds like Steve Rubbell and Ian Schrager's Studio 54.

Look for a poorer imitation to come to eBay soon.

There is a great opportunity out there for a company who will ensure your shopping and personal information privacy.  People are aghast when they read about a big data breach, especially when it affects them personally, but yet they continue to be corralled like sheep, marching in formation straight into another data and privacy abyss.

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 06:39:41 2018

Sign me up. I'm 75, live in the country, have no credit cards or bills. I don't drive, don't own a car.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Jun 1 10:54:26 2018

Rexford writes: "Look for a poorer imitation to come to eBay soon."

That is just what I was thinking. They want to charge an annual fee of $49 for doing nothing, just think how happy DW would be getting $50 each month. eBay would need to round up those newspaper trucks to pull off the scheme, I mean plan, and they'd need to crank up their AI into overdrive to "know" in advance what the buyers were going to buy (so they could have the sellers sending their items to JetBay in advance of the orders).

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: leathermermaid8 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 1 12:30:32 2018

I am not comfortable with this at all.  "Urban Parents" who live their lives out on social media may not care now but sooner or later all this "convenience" returns to tear them a new one.

As we have learned, as soon as any new things hits the market, somebody is in an even bigger hurry to find ways to abuse it.

The Gov't spying on me doesn't offend me nearly as much as the overreaching by businesses who could care less about consequences to you the consumer.  Until something chames them or affects them personally.  THEN they become social justice crusaders.  

Aside from this, do they not realize sometimes you want to make your own discoveries?  Skewing ads to fit me, personally will just bore me to death.  Someone is writing software that will deliberately confuse electronic spies like this.  I'll be the first in line to buy it.

Is it too much to ask to left alone to do my own thinking?  I don't care what urban mombie and daddict are up to, let have at it.

Leave me out.  I NEED to get out the house once in awhile.  

Time to embrace my inner luddite.  

Walmart is what made main street empty, now our heads as well.  No thanks.  

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 1 13:25:04 2018

iheartjacksparrow, much like so many software companies (Adobe Photoshop for example) went to a subscription model it appears that retailers are discovering other ways to monetize. It worked for Sam's and Costco, but I am doubtful that it will work for the average retailer.

Just like people tend to act like sheep, so do companies.  If they see a few hopping on board with a scheme, they too will want to emulate if they think that there is a buck to be made.  These types of schemes take a major investment to get off of the ground, and there is no guarantee that they will work.  If anyone doubts that, ask eBay.  Just look at how many of their schemes have failed over the years.

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 4 00:52:44 2018

It's not for me. If I need someone to go shopping for me, I ask my sister or my son. I would not pay anyone 50 to shop for me. How lazy can you be?

Now maybe if I lived in NYC and were afraid to leave my apartment, perhaps, having a party planner do your work for cheap. There may be some very rich people in NYC taking advantage of these people. I can see old lonely people calling them every day to come take photos of stuff and get a rush order of prunes.

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Jun 4 02:19:16 2018

Amazing that WM thinks they should be in the position to be the store of choice for this type of service! Customers that can Afford $600/year for this kind of service, generally don't want WM type of cheap junk. I go there for some grocery products - never milk as just the smell when opening the milk door about knocks me out! But they were saying clothing, gifts, partyware, etc. from WM? I get that many of us use the internet to shop for various reasons. For me i am disablled so if the price is right, I order it off Amazon or other places. I have not been impressed with the WM site.

I do think many of us are having companies follow us and our spending habits via cookies or loyalty cards, but they also do it in other ways. I remember a couple of years back I was checking out at KMart and using cash money and they guy wanted to know my zip code. I told him he had no need for my zip code. He looked startled enough that I could tell that no one had defied him like that, but he tried again to get me to tell him my zip code, and yeah I know it is a little thing, but someone paying cash doesn't need, in the USA at least, to identify themselves and where they live. He didn't know how to bypass the zip code line on his register to finiish the transaction. I told him I didn't care what zip he used, but I wasn't telling him mine and if he insisted I would leave without finishing the purchase. I'm not sure why they felt that they have to do things like this to cash paying customers.

It seems that every company in the US is in the race to learn more than the others about us so they can market to us even more. I have no need to help them in this quest. Still can't get over that it is WM that came upwith this plan in the first place as i doubt that mose upper crust folks shop at WM anyhow.

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 4 07:31:06 2018

The service wouldn't work in every major market.  That's why they're testing it in NYC because of its density and the workers.  I think long-term this is going to be a fail.  A lot of these ecommerce businesses are picking up smaller tech & service companies as a "try out", and later, about 2-3yrs later, they close shop.  I expect this will close shop too or be limited to cities like NYC.

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 5 04:01:15 2018

Future thinkers are pulling out of this game. Go analog.  

Perminate Link for Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack   Walmart Takes Personalization to New Level with Jetblack

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 6 14:49:54 2018

I live in a small community save for a large university there. Kroger and Walmart are the largest and busiest stores in town.

A few months back Kroger started their shop on line and pick up the groceries in reserved parking spaces with clerks bringing out the orders.  Some days, the aisles in Kroger busy with designated clerks everywhere filling carts with on-line orders.

Home delivery must be next and soon for this small town.  



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