The Jet marketplace is a relatively new player in the eCommerce arena. Experienced sellers and startups alike often shy away from going into business with such newcomers. The big players like Amazon and eBay may seem like safer bets, but sellers stand to gain certain advantages when they give fresh marketplaces like Jet a try.
What is the Jet Marketplace?
In 2015, Quidsi co-founder Mark Lore launched the Jet marketplace. He had raised $220 million in funding for the new online retail outlet over the past 14 months. He would also take in another $350 million before the end of the year to make the Jet concept a reality. Jet.com promised to offer a ground-breaking shopping experience. The Jet marketplace was advertised as the shopping site that would leverage current technologies to offer consumers the very best prices for products available online. Jet furthermore promised to share this pricing information openly with shoppers so that they could really get the maximum savings possible for their purchases. By focusing on giving shoppers the best deals, the Jet marketplace quickly made a name for itself.
Jet.com originally offered products for sale at as much as 15% below prices on Amazon and eBay. Jet charged consumers a $50 annual fee in exchange for access to its millions of drastically discounted products. There were no commissions on sales so that bigger savings could be passed on to shoppers. Additional savings were also possible when member shoppers opted out of returns, purchased in bulk, opted for debit versus credit payments, made purchases from the same warehouse, and shared their email addresses with third party sellers on the Jet marketplace. The fee proved problematic, however, and the Jet marketplace moved to a commission system shortly after its launch, taking about 15%. Despite this cut, discounts on Jet are still significant.
Walmart Acquires Jet
Walmart made the move to open an online channel in 2012. This brick and mortar giant had already dominated in the US and spread to other countries. They now wanted to offer the online experience to their loyal customers and make a brave attempt to challenge Amazon, the online retail giant. The one disadvantage that Walmart had that could foil their plans of presenting a real threat to Amazon was their lack of experience using consumer data to fuel their marketing techniques.
In 2016, Walmart became the second biggest name in online shopping, proving that they could indeed rival Amazon. In August that year, they acquired Jet, which had become a thriving marketplace on its own. The Jet marketplace was popular for the huge discounts it offered, but did not have close to the large customer base that the online giants had. What it did have was a lot of experience with leveraging consumer data. This team-up between Walmart and Jet could prove to be the tipping point in Walmart’s battle to dominate online retail.
Is Jet.com Worth It?
If you are not already selling on Jet.com, it might be because you are wondering if setting up on this alternative system is going to benefit you as a seller. Not every channel will be right for your business, but we think that the Jet marketplace has a few significant benefits that should not be ignored. Web Retailer surveyed Amazon sellers in 2016, and the results showed that 48% of million-dollar sellers are interested in joining Jet in 2017.
Jet.com is still a small player in the eCommerce game, but offers some serious additional advantages for sellers who want to diversify to protect their business. Sticking with the big names may seem like a sound business move, but it is always wise to spread out a little bit. Plus, backed up by the Walmart name, the Jet marketplace offers that stability while retaining the benefits of selling in a smaller marketplace.
The Jet marketplace has no retail supply channels of its own and has therefore relied on third-party sellers for its entire catalogue. After coming under the Walmart umbrella, however, this can soon change, opening up the marketplace to a slew of new products.
Jet is growing fast, but since it is still relatively small at this point, the competition is also manageable. Now is a good time for sellers to get on Jet.com, before it is flooded with sellers who have taken notice of and are ready to seize the opportunity. The Walmart name is also going to brings in a ton of sellers as the number of shoppers grows. A foot in the door will go a long way when the Jet marketplace comes into its expected expansion.
Opportunity for Growth
Before the Walmart acquisition, Jet had already planned to hit the $20 billion Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) mark by 2020. Amazon of course has a much larger third-party GMV, at $120 billion as of early 2016. Regardless, with the ambitious and successful Mark Lore at the wheel and a GMV of $1 billion after just one year in play, $20 billion would have been easy without Walmart’s help.
We are dealing with different pricing, and the best way to compare Jet to a marketplace like Amazon is how much they are selling per order. Jet boasted 1.5 units on average per order within just one year of launching. Amazon, even after years in the eCommerce business, had an average of only 1.1 units during the same period. Jet marketplace sellers are selling more. Jet offers huge discounts, but it is important to note that this does not equate to smaller profits for sellers. Jet’s alternative business model successfully passes on greater saving to shoppers without pressuring sellers to take a smaller share. This means that Jet marketplace sellers are also making more.
Getting started on the Jet marketplace will cost more because the platform does not offer software for inventory management. Sellers have to use third-party tools or develop their own software that can integrate with the Jet.com API. The potential for sales can quickly make up for this initial investment, however.
The Jet marketplace, unlike Amazon, encourages sellers to contact customers by making it easy to build an opt-in email list. Jet already incentivizes email address sharing by offering additional discounts. Sellers can then target these shoppers to market additional products to them.
Who Stands to Gain the Most?
Ultimately, because of the Jet model, certain sellers stand to gain more than others, namely those who can offer the following:
- exclusive distribution of popular products and/or new additions to the Jet marketplace
- competitive prices on competitive products
- fast order acknowledgment – 15 minutes or less
- well-managed inventory – warehousing close to major markets, and stocking in the same warehouse a range of complementary competitive products that are usually purchased together
- incentivized bulk shopping
- reasonable shipping for nearby customers and same-day fulfillment
- free returns