At a panel held last week in New York, David Echegoyen, chief customer officer at Jet.com, told the audience that the company’s recent refocus on the affluent, urban Millennial consumer represents not so much as a change in its approach to the marketplace as a shift driven in large measure by its purchase by Walmart.
The panel at the Brand Being Exchange, sponsored by Lippe-Taylor and The Creative Coalition, and also including Dustee Jenkins, chief communications officer at Spotify, Amy Weisenbach, vp/brand marketing at The New York Times, and Mikio Fujitsuka, head of sales and marketing at Johnson & Johnson, looked at how branding is evolving with the expansion of electronic communications.
Echegoyen, in response to a HomeWorld Business question, said that Jet.com had launched originally as an e-tailer intending to out-Walmart Walmart and beat Amazon at its own game. Jet would do so using a business model that encouraged shoppers to keep stocking up their market baskets as a means of growing a discount provided on the total order.
The Walmart purchase of Jet forced the e-tailer to reconsider its market position, Echegoyen said, which prompted it to begin a process of differentiating from the parent company. Jet decided to treat its acquisition as an opportunity to reexamine its customer proposition. Jet determined that its market approach, which emphasized convenience, fun and savings on everyday consumables, particularly suited the young, urban upscale consumer. As it looked at how to focus on city-dwelling Millennials, Jet began moving away from a strategy based on the endless aisle to one that better suited the specific set of target consumers, one that offered significant opportunity.
“Stats are that the top 30 cities in the U.S. produce about 50% of all demand in retail,” Echegoyen said.
As a result, Jet has tailored its approach to a clearly defined consumer demographic it can better understand in terms of needs and preferences. In execution, Jet is redefining its brand on a market-by-market basis, starting in New York, by featuring national brand merchandise that appeals to younger consumers complemented by local brands that have proven popular with affluent Millennials in each particular geography.