Jet.com has received a ton of press in their effort to take on Amazon with a better consumer experience, and raising $220M hasn't hurt. Consumers, retailers, and brands are all trying to figure out this newcomer, each with a different key question:
- Consumer: "Should I shop at Jet?"
- Retailer: "How credible is this threat?"
- Brand: "Should I be working with them?"
Let's start from the beginning: what is Jet anyway? How is it different than e.g. Amazon or Walmart? In their words:
"Jet launched this past July with one mission: To become the smartest way to shop and save on pretty much anything. Combining a revolutionary pricing engine, a world-class technology and fulfillment platform, and incredible customer service, we’ve set out to create a new kind of e-commerce experience — and driven by our core values of trust, transparency, and fairness, we want to make that experience more human, too."
That is, they're trying to deliver a better, more human experience to consumers while saving them money at the same time. If they can deliver on this promise, the answers to our above questions are:
For now, Jet is off to a great start, but victory in a highly competitive eCommerce market is far from guaranteed. But they're doing one absolutely key thing right from the start.
HOW YOU TREAT YOUR SUPPLIERS MATTERS
We have hundreds of brands in various stages of considering working directly with Jet, and everything we're hearing back from them is that Jet is really great to work with. Their item onboarding and maintenance processes are modern and straightforward, and turnaround times are extremely fast. This enables brands to get started working with Jet with much lower up-front investments than would require to work with other retailers for the first time.
This will enable Jet in the short term to enhance their consumer experience through both a large selection and better data than other, more marketplace-oriented companies would get via marketplace data aggregation tools.
This aligns with a big trend we're seeing throughout the industry. As retailers are becoming more reliant on their suppliers for ecommerce merchandising data (images, descriptions, features, specs, benefits, etc.), the easier they make the process on their suppliers, the better the data they get. This is why, for example, Walmart has invested so much in its ContentSpec 2.0 initiative. Ease matters.
From what we see, Jet's experience is among the best out there, and that has brands signing up at a rapid rate because (1) there really is opportunity and (2) it's relatively easy to do so. The rest is in the hands of the consumer - they will vote with the "Buy" button.
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