Text It to Get It: Walmart Launches Personal Shopping Service Jetblack

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Text It to Get It: Walmart Launches Personal Shopping Service Jetblack

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 06/01/2018

As retailers clamor to find the right mix of art and science to perfect their personalization efforts, Walmart has launched a new shopping service that combines the convenience of e-commerce with the customized attention of a personal assistant.

Last week we reported Walmart's personal shopping venture Code Eight had rebranded itself as Jetblack. The venture's job listings, such as customer experience agents, were seeking employees that could "wow every customer with personalized recommendations, curated products, and high-touch service."

Now Jetblack, led by Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss, has officially launched in in limited release to customers in Manhattan and part of Brooklyn.

Jetblack offers its members the ability to text nearly any shopping request and Jetblack will find the right products and deliver them the same or next day for no additional charge. The service isn't exclusive to products on Walmart.com and Jet.com, sending items from other retailers as well.

"Need it. Text it. Get it," reads the new shopping service's website. "Simply text your shopping requests to Jetblack anytime day or night and consider it done."

The service costs $50 per month, making it a pricier choice than Amazon Prime at $12.99 per month, targeting more affluent city moms.  

"Need it. Text it. Get it. Simply text your shopping requests to Jetblack anytime day or night and consider it done."

"Need it. Text it. Get it," reads the new shopping service's website. "Simply text your shopping requests to Jetblack anytime day or night and consider it done."

The service costs $50 per month, making it a pricier choice than Amazon Prime at $12.99 per month, targeting more affluent city moms.  

“We are thrilled to introduce Jetblack to the world today,” said Jenny Fleiss, co-founder and CEO, Jetblack. “Consumers are looking for more efficient ways to shop for themselves and their families without having to compromise on product quality. With Jetblack, we have created an entirely new concept that enables consumers to get exactly what they need through the convenience of text messaging and the freedom of a nearly unlimited product catalogue. We are confident this service will make shopping frictionless, more personalized and delightful.”

The service is the first to launch from Walmart’s technology incubator, Store N8, 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.”