Marc Lore buzzes with excitement as he talks about the kind of traffic his new website has already seen on opening day.
The site promises to offer prices that are 10-to-15% lower than anywhere else.
Products start at about 8% cheaper right-off-the-bat, but the site then offers additional discounts when shoppers can combine multiple orders into a single shipment, waive the ability to return something, or use debit cards instead of credit cards.
Instead of making a profit by taking a cut off the top of product prices, Jet makes money solely from a Costco-esque membership free: Users have to pay $US50 a year to shop.
“Jet is for people who care about saving money, but don’t want to have to work for it,” Lore tells Business Insider over the phone. “There no coupon clipping or wasting time. It’s about shopping smarter to save. We’ve built this technology that does all the heavy lifting in the background. You just shop as you ordinarily would, and you just see the prices start to get better.”
When Business Insider tested out the site back in April, I found the gamification of the shopping process a little addicting and really fun, but it won’t be as valuable for anyone who visits the site to just buy one or two items. Overall, I saved about $US8 on three items off Amazon’s prices by shopping on Jet (the site lists Amazon’s prices on every item, so shoppers can see exactly what they’re saving).
The competition between the two companies is particularly interesting because it’s also a bit personal.
Lore and and cofounder Vinit Bharara made a killing, but the sale wasn’t entirely sweet.
Before the acquisition, Amazon had more-or-less declared a pricing war against Diapers.com. Amazon started offering deep discounts on diapers. Not long after Amazon started its aggressive price chopping, Quidsi sold.
Now, Lore’s back on the scene with a new startup that’s trying to offer bigger discounts than Amazon.
“Marc knows the business so well he can pull it off,” Bessemer Ventures partner Jeremy Levine told The Wall Street Journal. Bessemer doesn’t invest in any ecommerce startups that sells anything that Amazon also carries — including Jet — but he believes if anyone can do it, it could be Lore.
Jet scored a sky-high valuation of $US600 million with its latest $US140 million funding round in February, and is reportedly looking to raise a boatload more, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But on launch-day Thursday morning, Lore just wants to get back to Jet’s homebase in New Jersey.
“I’m so looking forward to getting back to the office,” he told Business Insider during a phone call. “We were just on Good Morning America, Today Show, CNBC — but I want to get back there. The incredible amount of energy in the office right now is amazing.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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