When you think Walmart, you probably don’t think of luxury, or style, or fashion, which makes sense. The multi-billion dollar global retailer has been too busy focusing on offering the best deals on groceries, home goods, and the like, to make fashion (with a capital F) a priority. Well, that’s about to change. The Arkansas-based mega store is trying to make inroads towards the fashion crowd, or at least, a more fashionable crowd.
Walmart just announced that they have started to roll out a new personal shopping service called Jetblack in New York City, which is set to launch in other markets later this year. The service is supposed to be similar to Amazon Prime, in that you pay a monthly $50 membership fee for same- or next-day shipping and a virtual assistant named “J” who helps curate product orders—Walmart’s answer to Alexa.
It seems to still be in the early stages with some potential room for changes, but here’s what we do know about it so far:
Rent the Runway’s Co-Founder is Behind Jetblack
Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss has been been leading the effort at Code Eight, which is Walmart’s incubator arm of the business. She is also the “visionary” behind the new shopping service. Using her expertise from RTR, she believes that shoppers “are looking for more efficient ways to shop for themselves and their families without having to compromise on product quality.”
It’s about conversation
The white glove service is aimed at busy moms who are always on the go, and don’t have time to sit and sift through pages of products. Jetblack uses text messaging to speed up the process. All the member has to do is text what he or she needs, like a birthday gift for their son’s friend, and “J” will text back a confirmation along with possible other things you may need.
The clothing might not actually be that bad
Earlier in May, Walmart partnered with the Hudson’s Bay department store Lord & Taylor, which carries fashion brands like Diane von Furstenburg, Michael Kors, and Selfridge. Those names are a far cry from the likes of the apparel brands that Walmart used to peddle to its shoppers. Through Walmart, the Lord & Taylor products are also eligible for speedy shipping, which makes it even more attractive.
Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart U.S. E-Commerce, hopes that this innovation will have a “profound impact on how customers may shop five years from now,” according to a statement.
Do you think texting and shopping make sense together?