business news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg reports that Walmart-owned Jet’s site traffic declined about 60 percent last month when compared to the same period a year ago, while Walmart’s site traffic was up about five percent during the same period.

The difference in the two sites’ fortunes may be at least in part traceable to the fact that Walmart has been spending more money upgrading and marketing its eponymous online efforts, and less on Jet.

At the same time, the shifts come “as Walmart revamps its main website and looks to lure more upscale customers there with new apparel brands, expanded home-delivery options and a partnership with department store Lord & Taylor. This could draw even more shoppers away from Jet, whose ‘smart cart’ shopping feature - which provides discounts for ordering more items or forgoing returns - has already been adopted by"

Jet’s position seems to be that site traffic is an “imperfect” metric, and does not take into account the fact that Jet’s positioning over the past months has been to focus it on “key urban markets” such as New York and San Francisco where the Walmart brand might meet some cultural resistance.
KC's View:
It probably makes sense for Walmart to bifurcate the two businesses and aim them at different audiences, as opposed to having them battle with each other for the same sales. Whether this is an intelligent long-term strategy, I suppose, will depend on the degree to which Jet can make inroads in markets where Walmart has had trouble. Site traffic indeed may be less important than other metrics.

I still think we’re likely to see a Jet bricks-and-mortar store in New York one of these days - it is a city that has resisted Walmart’s charms, and so opening a Jet store, and using the opportunity to create a truly revolutionary and uniquely urban shopping experience, makes a lot of sense to me.