How Does Jet.com Define Value?
For those out there who are still curious about Amazon-rival, Jet.com, we’re back with our next post in the series with a bit more insight into the site’s user experience. In the last weeks of November, the startup nabbed a Series B round of $350 billion, bringing its valuation into the ‘unicorn territory’ of $1 billion. We haven’t heard much buzz in the media about Jet’s performance over Thanksgiving Weekend, but we did check out an interesting comparison of holiday shopping on Jet versus Amazon. After reading some other accounts of the savings and site experience, as well as digging in ourselves, we came to a few interesting conclusions about Jet.com’s “value”.
Jet has a fairly solid arsenal of products, though as we previously touched on, it focuses and performs best in just a few select categories right now. Where the e-comm startup is still perhaps finding its grounding is in the user interface. In our experience, it looks like Jet has put some substantial muscle into its search function. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can easily type the product in the search box, and Jet will likely show you the cheapest option straight off. That being said, the site also has several, somewhat scattered navigation options, which makes it challenging to causally browse around. When you think of Amazon, or a brand that you really love, you’re comfortable and probably intrigued enough to look around the site to see if products you might not be looking for end up catching your eye. That’s how closets and shoe racks get filled! Amazon is pretty great at luring customers into that kind of scenario – it’s more inviting, and it even tailors the shopping experience to what you’ve previously shown interest in. This is an area where Jet needs to improve. With its impressive inventory and range of brands, Jet will need to find better ways of drawing customers in to purchase outside of their “need to have now” everyday essentials.
Something you’ll immediately notice on some product pages on Jet.com is a lack of detailed descriptions, and on all pages, customer reviews. They also hasn’t tapped a “Frequently Bought Together” type strategy. Because the company is still in its infancy, they can’t be expected to match the quantity of reviews that Amazon has, but they will absolutely need to focus on cultivating them. A large part of the reason why people show such loyalty to sites like Amazon is due to its extensive peer reviews and ratings system. While shoppers trust Amazon, they’re even more inclined to trust others who have had or tried the product before them.
See below Jet’s basic product page for a Samsung Galaxy tablet:
versus sections of Amazon’s product page for the same Samsung Galaxy tablet:
After considering elements of the consumer experience on Jet in this and recent posts, is it a valuable option? In some ways, the answer is certainly yes. But where Jet might ultimately fall down is in its somewhat overly aggressive approach at dominating the ecommerce sphere, entering into an instant battle with mature companies like Amazon, Costco and Walmart who have had years to establish success – first in relatively targeted categories, and then through more widespread expansion and growth. While CEO Marc Lore claims to target the value-driven consumer, Jet only appears to define “value” as it relates to cash savings. Over time (and sooner rather than later) it will need to broaden that definition of value in terms of site experience, product offerings and fulfillment if it wants to build out a solid customer base. Saving a few bucks here and there is nice, but does it result in long term loyalty? Probably not.