Walmart will discontinue its Jet black personal shopping service, with plans to “apply these learnings from Jet black and leverage its core capabilities within Walmart,” according to a statement by Scott Eckert, SVP, Next Generation Retail and Principal at Store No8, Walmart’s incubator program. Jet black catered to high-end shoppers, with a $50 membership fee that let them text orders for on-demand products ranging from cosmetics to party décor.
“As we said in the beginning when we launched Jet black, part of the initiative was to start testing and building technology with the intent that it could be used in other ways, including applying it to other parts of our business,” said Eckert. “Over the past few years, we’ve explored a number of areas in conversational commerce, from Jet black’s text-based ordering to voice ordering in pickup and delivery, all with the belief that this technology will be an important way Walmart serves customers in the future.”
Jet black will stop accepting new orders and refund the latest monthly membership fee, but the service will continue fulfilling existing orders through Feb. 21, 2020. About 300 employees will be laid off, and another 58 will become a conversational commerce team, according to CNBC.
The service was losing approximately $15,000 per member annually as of summer 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources claim that Walmart had been seeking investors or potential buyers for the service, but that the company failed to secure any interest.
Walmart has been selling or consolidating other e-Commerce properties as well. Jet.com was absorbed into the larger retailer’s organization in June 2019 following several years of declining sales. Walmart also sold ModCloth to Go Global in October 2019, and at one point allegedly pursued a sale of Bonobos before deciding against it.