Walmart Discontinuing its Personal Shopping Service, Jetblack
Walmart said it will discontinue its personal shopping service, Jetblack, on Feb. 21. The announcement follows a report by The Wall Street Journal that the company ended talks to spin off the business and will now restructure it. Walmart had conversations with potential investors, including Microsoft, United Parcel Service and venture capital firms, according to the report. Jetblack notified customers about the end of the service on Thursday. It said it would no longer accept new orders, but would fulfill pending ones. It also said it would refund all customers their most recent $50 monthly membership fee. About 300 Jetblack employees will lose their jobs and 58 others will become a conversational commerce team for Walmart, company spokesman Ravi Jariwala said.
Total Retail's Take: Walmart's Jetblack service struggled to gain traction with higher-end consumers, who traditionally didn't associate the retail giant with upscale shopping. And not only was Jetblack struggling to acquire users, the ones it did have were costing it money. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jetblack had less than a thousand customers as of last year, and it was losing around $15,000 per member annually as of summer 2019. The personal shopping service didn't scale to the level Walmart had hoped, and its resource-intensive delivery method proved unprofitable (and unsustainable). Walmart is making strides in its battle with Amazon.com to win over digital shoppers, but its Jetblack venture may have seen the business stray too far from its comfort zone.