Walmart's Jetblack service is aimed at busy mums.

Walmart’s Jetblack service is aimed at busy mums.

Need it, text it, get it. This is the premise of the on-demand, subscription-based e-commerce program launched by Walmart recently.

Jetblack is a personal shopping service designed to save users time and increase efficiency by allowing them to text one-word requests for products across a diverse range of categories.

Users can also send a photo or screenshot of a product and the app’s team of automated bots and professional, human buyers will do their best to find it.

It was developed by Walmart’s innovation incubator, Store No. 8, under the guidance of Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss, who said it combines the convenience of e-commerce with the customised attention and expert recommendations of a personal assistant.

Walmart's Jetblack service

Jetblack is designed to save shoppers time.

“Whether you’re asking for a basic product like laundry detergent or you’re asking us to recommend designer shoes that match a dress, you can ask for anything, and we leverage a team of experts to get you the right thing,” she told Glossy.

The service is aimed at affluent, time-poor mothers and currently costs US$50 per month (compared to Amazon Prime’s US119 per year). It isn’t restricted to products on and (a Walmart-owned store) but will send shoppers items from other retailers including Saks and Pottery Barn.

Jetblack stores customer information including brand preferences, size and payment details, meaning users can text ‘shampoo’ and have their preferred brand delivered to their home as soon as possible.

There is no minimum spend to use the service and membership includes free same- or next-day delivery, gift wrapping and returns.

Marc Lore, Walmart head of e-commerce, said the retailer is focused on three things when it comes to its online business: nailing the fundamentals, leveraging its strengths; and innovating for the future.

“Powered by conversational commerce, the future of retail will bring convenience and high-touch personalisation to the forefront for consumers everywhere,” he said.

Although communicating with shoppers via message isn’t particularly new, Fleiss said Jetblack’s point of difference is the ability to quickly fulfil almost any retail request, while offering a highly personalised experience.

A sample group of 100 New Yorkers tested Jetblack earlier this year. The majority of orders were for everyday items, with users purchasing an average of 10 items per week, and two-thirds ordering at least one thing on any given week.

It is now open to residents in Brooklyn and Manhattan.


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