retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Motley Fool reports this morning that Walmart's "vast supply chain, logistics network, and infrastructure" has made a "significant difference" in how Jet - which it acquired earlier this year for $3.3 billion - has competed in the e-commerce marketplace.

According to the story, "In its second holiday season, Jet saw sales over the Thanksgiving weekend jump 300%, and the average order value was up 19%. Jet focused on key gift categories such as electronics, toys, home goods, and apparel and benefited from Wal-Mart's supply-chain expertise, as the company was able to replenish its inventory faster and maintain higher in-stock rates."

Dan Wilkinson, chief commercial officer for 1WorldSync, a supply-chain partner for Wal-Mart, tells Motley Fool that "Jet has gained access to assets such as Wal-Mart's products, customer base, and supplier information to tap its vast vendor network, benefit from Wal-Mart's rock-bottom purchase prices, and market to millions of Wal-Mart's customers using its data. Importantly for the former start-up, Jet now has access to Wal-Mart's capital resources and no longer has to worry about its cash-burn rate or how much money start-ups can go through before they run out or turn profitable."

The story goes on: "Just 6% of consumers have made a purchase on Jet.com over the past year, compared with 98% who have made one on Amazon, 61% who have done so on eBay, and 26% on Etsy. In other words, there's a long potential runway of growth for Jet.com as it reaches out to more consumers."

In other Walmart-related news, CNBC reports that Walmart is saying that it "is offering free in-store pickup of online orders placed by 6 p.m. local time on Dec. 23, and has launched a dedicated online website for customers to view last-minute gift inventory available at their local store."
KC's View:
I may be a little surprised by how quickly the Walmart and Jet combination seems to have gelled, though it is worth noting that Jet's growth comes on top of some fairly small numbers last year. But listen ... I think that not only is Walmart/Jet a potent combo to which Amazon needs to pay serious attention, but one that, along with Amazon, may be creating a new retail reality that will affect retailers in every segment and of every stripe.