Why Jetblack Was Doomed All Along

Cost and friction tanked Walmart’s text-to-shop experiment

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It’s time to pour one out for Walmart’s exclusive text-to-shop service Jetblack, which launched in May 2018 for consumers in Manhattan and Brooklyn and “ended [its] current operations” last week.

According to a post on the Jetblack site, parent company Walmart plans to roll the technology into the broader organization “to power its conversational commerce capabilities and build new experiences for customers,” so this may not be the last we’ve seen of its text-to-shop functionality.

The idea behind Jetblack was to allow subscribers to text their shopping needs and for the retailer to then tap into a combination of artificial intelligence and human buyers to offer product suggestions for next-day delivery.

A few months after Jetblack’s launch, co-founder and CEO Jennifer Fleiss said the service had a long wait list and members were ordering more than 10 items per week.



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