A MOUSE DIVIDED
Walmart, Jet.com see 2 Americas for online sales
Walmart brass feels its brand may not be the best when it comes to selling to urban customers.
The discount giant will have its youngish Jet.com ecommerce unit focus on shoppers in large cities while the 55-year-old discounter’s online store will focus on the rest of the country, The Post has learned.
The two-Americas strategy — Jet.com for urban millennial customers and Walmart for the remainder of the country — was disclosed recently to a town hall meeting of Jet.com employees at the 3-year-old company’s Hoboken, NJ, headquarters.
The news left some Jet.com employees deflated. They felt Walmart bought their startup in August 2016 for $3.3 billion to have it lead the discounter’s online charges across the country.
To be sure, other Jet.com employees were relieved to hear Walmart’s strategy. They feared their beloved, aggressive e-commerce company would simply be subsumed by Walmart — mined for its technology and then tossed aside.
Those left disappointed by the Walmart strategy hoped that Jet.com would scale up and become the formidable competitor it had started out as — taking on all comers, including the mighty Amazon, and undercutting them on price.
Jet.com’s investors were certainly sold on its trajectory, throwing more than $500 million at it only a year after its launch in 2014 by co-founder Marc Lore, who sold his previous company, Diapers.com, to Amazon in 2010.
“Jet thought it was in there for the Amazon war, that it would be leading the charge,” said a source with knowledge of the meeting.
A spokeswoman for Jet.com said the message from senior leadership is that Jet.com is “honing its focus on reaching urban millennial shoppers [in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago] through innovations as well as by offering premium assortments and premium products on Jet.com.”
“The folks in Iowa and Kansas can still shop with us, but we are focusing on the urban shopper,” added the spokeswoman, Meredith Klein.
While Walmart’s customers shop at its 4,700 stores and on Walmart.com for bargains, Jet.com’s urban customers are not getting the same deals, The Post discovered. (See story at left.)
The marriage between the Bentonville, Ark., behemoth and its city slicker bride always represented a clash of cultures and expectations, say industry experts.
Shortly after the acquisition was completed, Walmart put the kibosh on Jet.com’s Thursday-evening happy hours because Walmart has a policy against drinking in the office, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“People were not thrilled,” Jet.com President Liza Landsman told The Journal.
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