Walmart’s newest service brings texting and personal shopping together
Walmart announced the limited launch of a new personal shopping service, Jetblack, that combines real people and artificial intelligence to offer product recommendations for everyday staples and birthday gifts to busy customers (primarily moms) and delivers them on the same or next day at no additional charge.
The service, which is initially available in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, is the first to launch from Walmart’s Store No. 8 technology incubator. Jetblack is being led by Jenny Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway and also head of Code Eight, the first portfolio company within Store No. 8.
Jetblack is available by invitation only and charges a monthly subscription of $50 to members. It combines the expertise of professional buyers across categories, including fashion, health and wellness, home and parenting, with artificial intelligence to find the right products to recommend. It also makes use of shopper recommendations to expand the overall knowledgebase.
While most of the items sold come from Walmart or Jet.com, the service will also procure other products from local retailers and brand suppliers. Walmart offered examples such as finding a specific beauty cream from a member’s favorite local shop. The service is designed to help customers out in a pinch, such as finding and delivering custom Easter baskets while kids are asleep.
Walmart contends that when the beta for Jetblack was completed in Manhattan earlier this year, members said using the service was “as easy as texting a close friend who knows your preferences.” The service promises competitive pricing on all purchases with hassle-free returns. There is no minimum fee to place an order and free giftwrapping and handwritten notes are part of the service. Interested consumers can apply to be put on a waitlist for the service on the Jetblack site.
- Need it. Text it. Get it. – Jetblack
- Jetblack – YouTube
- Jetblack is here – Store No. 8
- Live Blog: Get the Latest on Walmart Shareholders 2018 – Walmart
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your reaction to Walmart’s new Jetblack personal shopping service via text? How do you think the interaction between human and artificial intelligence is likely to work out as the service is expanded? How do expect its retail rivals to react?