The service is the first to launch from Walmart’s technology incubator, Store No 8, where it previously operated in stealth as “Code Eight.” The idea was developed and refined within Store No 8, which was established by Marc Lore last year shortly after he was named President and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce. Store No 8 has been working to incubate capabilities, powered by emerging technologies, that will transform the future of commerce. Walmart believes one of those capabilities is conversational commerce – or the ability to shop through text messaging, online chat or voice – and Jetblack is the first step along that journey.
Through its curated shopping recommendations sent via text, Jetblack can deliver time-strapped urban parents everything from birthday gifts to household essentials. The service uses a combination of artificial intelligence practices and expertise from professional buyers across the home, health, parenting, fashion and wellness categories, as well as parents themselves. Some everyday essentials may be sourced from Walmart and Jet.com, while other items and specialty products are procured from local brands and shops. Examples have included sourcing a specific beauty cream from a member’s favorite local boutique, curating custom Easter baskets and delivering them once the kids are asleep and rushing beach essentials to a family on vacation.
Jetblack launched its closed beta in Manhattan early this year and members say shopping with Jetblack is as easy as texting a close friend who knows your preferences, according to the company.
“Our e-commerce strategy has been focused on three elements: nailing the fundamentals, leveraging our unique strengths to play offense and innovating for the future,” said Marc Lore. “Through Store No 8 and Jetblack, we’re able to build and test technology that can lay the foundation for capabilities we believe will have a profound impact on how customers may shop five years from now. Powered by conversational commerce, the future of retail will bring convenience and high-touch personalization to the forefront for consumers everywhere and I’m so excited to have Jenny lead the charge.”