Walmart’s technology incubator, Store No. 8, has launched Jetblack, a new members-only conversational commerce shopping service that is said to combine the convenience of e-commerce with the customized attention of a personal assistant.
The launch is a limited release to customers in Manhattan and part of Brooklyn. Jetblack offers its members the ability to text nearly any shopping request and the curation platform will find the right products and deliver them the same or next day for no additional charge.
“We are thrilled to introduce Jetblack,” said Jenny Fleiss, co-founder and CEO of Jetblack. “Consumers are looking for more efficient ways to shop for themselves and their families without having to compromise on product quality. With Jetblack, we have created an entirely new concept that enables consumers to get exactly what they need through the convenience of text messaging and the freedom of a nearly unlimited product catalog. We are confident this service will make shopping frictionless, more personalized and delightful.”
The idea for Jetblack was developed and refined within Store No. 8, which was established by Marc Lore last year after he was named president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce. Store No. 8 has been working to incubate capabilities, powered by emerging technologies. Walmart noted that it believes one of those capabilities is conversational commerce— the ability to shop through text messaging, online chat or voice.
Through its curated shopping recommendations sent via text, Jetblack said it can deliver time-strapped urban parents everything from birthday gifts to household essentials. The service uses a combination of artificial intelligence practices and expertise from professional buyers across the home, health, parenting, fashion and wellness categories, as well as parents themselves.
Some everyday essentials may be sourced from Walmart and Jet.com, while other items and specialty products are procured from local brands and shops. Examples have included sourcing a specific beauty cream from a member’s favorite local boutique, curating custom Easter baskets and delivering them once the kids are asleep and rushing beach essentials to a family on vacation.
“Our e-commerce strategy has been focused on three elements: nailing the fundamentals, leveraging our unique strengths to play offense and innovating for the future,” said Marc Lore. “Through Store No. 8 and Jetblack, we’re able to build and test technology that can lay the foundation for capabilities we believe will have a profound impact on how customers may shop five years from now. Powered by conversational commerce, the future of retail will bring convenience and high-touch personalization to the forefront for consumers everywhere.”