TECHNOLOGY

Walmart looks to boost Jet.com with a big makeover—and partnership with Nike

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is updating its Jet.com site with faster delivery, new merchandise offerings, more personalization and other enhancements as its looks to strengthen its defenses against Amazon.

The online retailer on Thursday debuted an updated website that features an array of new and improved offerings, with a shopping experience tailored to specific needs of urban areas, starting with New York City. (Jet will open a new fulfillment center in the Bronx this fall.). The changes are designed to expand Jet’s appeal to its target audience of affluent, urban-dwelling consumers.

“I’m personally thrilled with this evolution of Jet,” said Marc Lore, Jet founder, and president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce US. “It’s the next generation of shopping for city dwellers, and really brings the personality of their city and local favorites to life,” And, focusing Jet on customers in the major metro cities perfectly complements our overall e-commerce portfolio strategy.”

The changes include a bigger emphasis on localization. Starting with New York and rolling out to other major cities over time, Jet.com will feature iconic, localized imagery and messages on the home page and throughout the site. In addition, smarter product recommendations that prioritize shoppers’ preferences and timely re-order suggestions that predict needs to restock will provide more intelligent personalization. And iOS consumers will be able to use voice activation to build shopping lists on Jet’s mobile application.

Other changes include faster delivery. Most New York City customers will be able to arrange three-hour scheduled delivery windows for their groceries and other select merchandise. Upon checkout, customers will be able to add customized delivery instructions (e.g. “leave the package with the doorman”). Delivery will be offered through Parcel, the same-day, last-mile delivery company Walmart acquired in 2017.

Jet is also partnering with New York-based brands and small businesses to offer a more localized product assortment. New Yorkers, for instance, will be able to order local and craft beer for same-day and next-day delivery in the coming months.

NIKE: Jet also plans to add more brands to its site, including Nike. In October, Jet and Nike will partner to offer consumers Nike and Converse products in a fully branded experience. The initial assortment will include hundreds of products across apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and children, including essentials for running, training and sportswear.

Jet was launched in 2015 and acquired by Walmart for $3.3 billion in 2016, Jet is the shopping destination for city consumers.

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TECHNOLOGY

Walmart expands last-mile delivery capabilities with new acquisition

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is enhancing its online grocery delivery capabilities south of the border.

The purchase is intended to ramp up multi-platform capabilities in the region, and follows similar investments in China and Japan.

The discounter has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cornershop, an online marketplace for on-demand delivery of food, health & wellness and packaged goods from supermarkets, pharmacies and specialty food retailers in Mexico and Chile, for $225 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cornershop will remain an open platform that will continue to deliver from a variety of retailers. Its three founders — Oskar Hjertonsson, CEO; Daniel Undurraga, COO; and Juan Pablo Cuevas, chief technology officer, and their teams — will continue to lead the business.

“Cornershop’s digital expertise, technology and capabilities will strengthen our successful businesses in Mexico and Chile and provide learning for other markets in which we operate,” said Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International. “Combining Cornershop’s innovative, crowdsourced delivery platform with Walmart’s unique assets will allow us to accelerate growth for both companies, delighting our customers by saving them both time and money.”

Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected by the end of the year.

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TECHNOLOGY

Online holiday sales to increase 15%, according to forecast

BY Marianne Wilson

E-commerce sales will rise this year — and so will Amazon’s share of the pie.

That’s according to retail search marketing company NetElixir, which is predicting e-commerce growth of 15% this year, up from 13% last year. It also projects that Amazon will take 40% of online holiday sales this year, up from 35% in 2017.

NetElixir’s 2018 Holiday Forecast projects that Amazon’s holiday sales will translate into $38.8 billion dollars, up $29.4 billion from last year. All other retailers combined are projected to make an additional $3.6 billion in holiday e-commerce sales this year.

In making its optimistic forecast, NetElixir cited the strong first half of 2018, which saw roughly a 17% increase in online orders and 15.5% increase in revenue compared to 2017. Back-to-school ecommerce sales increased 14% from 2017. It also cited continued mobile commerce growth, such macro-economic factors as the strong economy and record low unemployment, and the deeper discounts being offered by larger retailers around holiday time (although this has led to a lowering of average order value.).

The growing popularity of voice-search led shopping: also factored into the forecast — 30% plus of all mobile searches are expected to be voice activated. Voice search has converted the “search-shop-buy” path into just a “search-buy” path, especially for staple purchases, which is leading to an increase in the frequency of online purchases, according to NetElixir.

“Our models are forecasting a very optimistic holiday season for retailers,” said Udayan Bose, founder and CEO of NetElixir. “We are also seeing new buying trends being spurred by the adoption of new technologies. So while retailers can expect overall e-commerce growth, to reap the benefits they should be adapting their e-commerce channels to coincide with these changing consumer behaviors.”

NetElixir forecasts that holiday gifting-related search query volume will pick up from Sunday, Oct. 21. NetElixir also identifies three peak online shopping periods for this year’s holiday shopping:

• Five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday (11/22-11/26)
• Green Monday period (12/9-12/12)
• Mobile shopping spike (12/18-12/21)

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