What’s Going On at Jet.com?

Whenever a flashy, young, ‘disruptive’ force makes its way onto the scene, it’s natural to experience some feelings of unease (particularly when an ecommerce vet is in the driver’s seat). That’s why we’re taking some time to further explore Jet.com, the newest kid on the ecommerce block. Over the course of a three-part blog series, we’ll be analyzing Jet’s performance throughout the ever-important Q4, paying close attention to what kind of impact the “smart shopping platform” has on varying product categories, as well as its overall approach to building a loyal customer base.

Like most disruptors, Jet.com is no different in its honorable quest to shake up a traditional landscape that in their minds, needs some fixing. So what is all the fuss about? Who is Jet.com? As told by Chief Executive Officer, Marc Lore, Jet.com’s mission is to provide a shopping club that empowers both consumers and retailers. More specifically the site aims to maximize fulfillment efficiencies for retailers, and those efficiencies are then shared with shoppers through low pricing and an overall elevated shopping experience. Incidentally, this sometimes includes wacky real-time videos that celebrate even the most mundane of purchases. If nothing else, it sounds like a pretty interesting undertaking right?

Well, it’s now the end of October, and we’ve worn both our consumer and our retailer hats to analyze Jet’s progression. Its pricing, particularly for everyday essentials, is an undeniable plus. The usual free shipping, free returns and additional discounts are somewhat comparable to what most retailers are doing today, though there are a few unique options, like opting to waive return rights or paying with a debit card that result in deeper discounts. More notably, the company has placed enormous efforts into personalized, engaging advertising that aim to make each shopper the hero in his or her own bargain-hunting, smart savings story.

So as it seems, Lore’s newest ecommerce prospect is, in some ways, fulfilling its mission to redefine the landscape, offering something unique and valuable for the parties involved. And its message is certainly resonating with a growing number of consumers. But one question that has been lingering is, can the site sustain its current model based on the recent drop of its $50 annual membership fee (essentially, the bulk of its profit margin)? Will Jet fizz out, and succumb to the competitive customer experience advantages of Amazon and other, more established players? Will it fail to scale properly? Simply run out of resources? Only time will be lend insight into these questions, but we will certainly be keeping a close watch on Jet, particularly over these next couple of months.

Throughout the holidays, we’re going to be monitoring the performance of Jet.com’s key categories, including Everyday Household, Electronics and Toys and Games. We’ll also be taking a deeper dive into the overall site experience of Jet.com as well as its traditional and TV-focused marketing strategy. Stay tuned for more insights!

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