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.
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.