Walmart Inc. (WMT) has rolled out a new same-day delivery service, named Jetblack, where consumers can make orders through a text message. The new addition is a part of the company’s efforts to expand and strengthen its e-commerce business and better compete with chief rival Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).
The latest service enables customers to place order for products from Walmart and even from other retailers. It is a part of the company’s internal start-up incubator, called Store No. 8.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant has initially introduced the service in parts of New York City and plans to expand it across the U.S. with the passage of time.
The new service has a membership fee of $50 per month. It will provide same-day and next-day delivery with no extra charges. Jetblack will compete in the market with Amazon Prime and Prime Now, which are already quite famous and have wide adoption in the U.S.
Jetblack co-founder and CEO Jenny Fleiss said that customers are seeking more effective ways to shop without compromising product quality. She added that the company has created a completely new concept with Jetblack that allows shoppers to buy exactly what they are looking for by just sending a message.
Customers who participated in a pilot program were buying 10 items a week on average from Jetblack, according to Fleiss. The service segregates itself by sourcing daily life essentials from Walmart and Jet.com, beside giving customers freedom to order from rival retailers such as Sephora and Saks.
Users can message their requests to Jetblack, which then recommends different items with the help of automated bots and actual humans. Responses generally take 5-10 minutes. Customers can choose the desired item, which is usually shipped to them on the same day through third-party couriers.