Walmart is discontinuing the text-based, personal-shopping service Jet black, launched in 2018 out of Walmart’s tech incubator Store No.8.
Jet black was the first portfolio company to launch from Store No. 8. Led by Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss, it offered its members the ability to text nearly any shopping request to be fulfilled by Jet black and delivered same or next day for a $50 per month service fee.
“Our membership based service enables consumers to offload their shopping needs across virtually all categories - from reordering laundry detergent and paper towels, to getting curated gift or beauty recommendations, customers can ask for anything and get the right thing, quickly,” Fleiss toldRIS last year.
“Jet black combines the convenience of e-commerce with the customized attention of a personal assistant -- using 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.”
Now Jet black will “graduate from incubation” to join Walmart’s Customer Organization, Scott Eckert, senior VP of next generation retail of Walmart and head of Store No. 8 said in a blog post. While Walmart is shutting down Jet black as a standalone offering, Eckert said the retailer is eager to apply its learnings from Jet black and “leverage its core capabilities within Walmart.”
He noted the retailer learned how customers respond to being able to order by text as well as what type of items they purchase through texting.
“As we said in the beginning when we launched Jet black, part of the initiative was to start testing and building technology with the intent that it could be used in other ways, including applying it to other parts of our business.” He said.