Walmart's Jet.com is relaunching to make shopping online more fun in a direct challenge to Amazon

Jet.comHow the new Jet.com homepage will look for someone logging on from New York City in the evening.
  • Jet.com is relaunching its website with a focus on a unique experience and a carefully chosen assortment of brands and merchandise.
  • The Walmart-owned e-commerce site is also bringing in key retail partners like Nike, scheduled to debut on the site in September.
  • Jet is also planning same-day grocery delivery in the New York City area.

Jet.com is a go for relaunch.

The Walmart-owned e-commerce site has overhauled its website as part of an effort to “re-humanize e-commerce,” as the company put it in a press release.

“I think we’ve been indoctrinated over the last 10 years that e-commerce is a very transactional experience,” Simon Belsham, the senior vice president at Walmart who is president of Jet.com, told Business Insider. “We know that a lot of people shop for enjoyment, inspiration, and discovery, and with the new site we’re putting that customer centricity back into the experience.”

The ‘e’ in e-commerce also stands for ’emotion’

Walmart purchased Jet in 2016 for $US3.3 billion. It repositioned Jet as an online-shopping site for upscale millennials who live in cities. The new Jet.com keeps that focus, but now it’s focusing more on the emotion of shopping and what it brings out in customers.

“There’s this sense that e-commerce is about algorithm driving everything and it’s all trying to lead to a transaction,” J. David Echegoyen, Jet’s chief customer officer, told Business Insider. “We want to do things that are not just about the transaction but about the relationship and to do that you need humans, you need people thinking about what it is to be in the customer’s shoes.”

The website will now shift based on the city a customer is in and what time of day it is. For example, New Yorkers will get a look at the skyline as they browse for products, and that skyline may feature the sun rising, setting, or out of sight. More materially, the site hopes to allow New Yorkers to more easily shop local brands and to present national brands in a way that speaks to local tastes.

“We’ve discovered a lot of these brands were so hungry to partner,” Belsham said. “E-commerce has had the bad rap of being the small-business killer. We want to be the complete opposite.”

Jet.comThe new Jet.com fashion category page.

Jet will also now offer different shopping experiences for different categories. For example, shopping for fashion and clothing items will have more pictures and a different feel than shopping for groceries, while the section selling furniture will look different from both.

In those categories, Jet will be introducing other partnerships with brands and prominently featuring them. For example, Jet plans to launch a partnership with Nike to sell both Nike and Converse footwear, apparel, and accessories on the site.

But while most of Nike’s past online partners have stuck to the basics, Jet wants to do more with the brand.

Belsham said it’s about “really inspiring people about fitness or the sport they want to play” and “not just a search engine to find specific products.”

A new focus on grocery

For grocery products, Jet is leveraging new resources like a fulfillment center in the Bronx and the Walmart-owned courier service Parcel to offer grocery delivery to New York City.

For a $US6 fee, the new service, called City Grocery, aims to offer same-day or next-day delivery within a three-hour window.

Many local brands are set to be featured, like Orwasher’s bakery, Pat LaFrieda meats, and Bedford Cheese Shop, but the company says plenty of national brands will be offered too. The company says the service will be available in most of New York City and parts of New Jersey.

As the Bronx facility ramps up, Belsham said, customers will be able to add merchandise to their grocery orders as well.

Jet.comJet has launched a same-day or next-day delivery service called City Grocery for New York.

The delivery service is starting in New York, but Jet says it will consider expanding to other cities.

Walmart has seen explosive e-commerce growth in recent years, including 40% growth online in the most recent quarterly results, reported in August.

That’s in part because of a massive investment in brands like Jet meant to better compete with e-commerce natives like Amazon. Jet’s relaunch is likely an attempt to stabilise that growth and further differentiate Jet from its mass-market parent brand.

“Really the whole new site and business relaunch is just the beginning really of our direction for Jet and broader than that how we’re thinking about the future of where we want to take retail and e-commerce,” Belsham said. “E-commerce today isn’t going to be e-commerce in the future, and this is the start of how Jet can fit into that.”

Echegoyen, the chief customer officer, agreed.

“This is only the beginning,” he said. “We are not putting a flag on the moon saying we’ve arrived.”

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