What’s up with Jet.com?

Did Jet.com even have a business plan? If so, what?

Hoboken-based Jet.com, who was supposed to be the “Slayer of Amazon,” is going through some wacky and mysterious changes as of late.

The premise was that they sold everything “at cost” and made their money via annual membership fees (like those shopping clubs), with the exception that you weren’t required to buy massive quantities in bulk. But the more your added to you cart – the cheaper the items became.

jet free membership

Last month, they sent out happy emails saying that people could use the site for free (for a week). Then more recently, they made the super big announcement that Jet.com would no longer require a membership fee at all! (What does that tell you?)

Here is the exciting announcement:

“When we launched Jet, we envisioned a shopping club that would empower both consumers and retailers by exposing embedded costs and creating new ways to eliminate them. It’s been amazing to see how deeply this idea has resonated with our customers and retail partners, and we’re more committed than ever to extending the reach of our vision. I am therefore incredibly excited to announce that we’ve decided to drop the membership fee and make Jet free for all shoppers.

The response to Jet’s core value proposition has been stronger than we anticipated. With the average number of units per order twice what we expected, Smart Carts have been the rule, not the exception. Our customers are taking every advantage of our dynamic pricing engine to place orders that can be fulfilled at a lower cost — and to have those efficiencies shared with them as savings. In turn, our retailers are reaching new customers while capturing more efficient and profitable orders. By enabling even more people to embrace this new way of shopping, we believe we can more fully realize our vision of a reshaped e-commerce landscape and deliver unprecedented value to consumers and retailers.

We may be dropping the membership fee, but our promise to our customers will remain in place: the ability to save money by placing bigger, smarter orders; 24/7 support from the Jet Heads, our world-class customer service team; free shipping on orders over $35; free returns within 30 days; and the opportunity to earn savings at Jet by shopping on other great sites via the Jet Anywhere program.

We will also continue to advocate for our brand and retail partners. We’re building tools to help them sell smarter and drive greater volume and better profitability. We will strive to create an elevated shopping experience in which they’ll be proud to take part. Empowering our partners is central to Jet’s mission, and appealing to a wider customer base will enable us to do even more.

We’ve learned so much in 11 weeks, but this is just the beginning. Thank you for continuing this journey with us.”


Immediately others on the internet felt the same thing – asking the exact same questions I had:

“This is great but how will you make money? I thought the business plan was to sell items at cost and make all the money on membership fees the same way as Costco.”

We want to like Jet – but what next?

jet prices increaseFor the past few months – whenever I’m in the market for some thing or necessity, I have given Jet the first crack at the sale. They either don’t have what I’m looking for – or I can find it pre-owned elsewhere for cheaper.

For people who were regular Amazon users for the past 10+ years, it’s so hard to see the benefit of switching in order to save a few pennies. The selection isn’t there, the new & used options aren’t there, it’s just not easy – even if you save a little.

Additionally – one thing that gets my goat is the fact that they LIMIT the quantities of what I want to buy.

They claim that people might “take advantage” of the super low prices (like some re-seller, etc.) Most items have a MAX 10 limit (many are even lower than that). Like when I perform my annual “re-stocking” of essentials (soaps, vitamins, etc.) I don’t want to have to make separate orders. I can’t buy items by the case. Two bars of soap? Fuck that.

The lack of “related-items” sections, as well as the obvious price-increases across the board have taken away most of the oomph they had with their promising start. My favorite organic coffee doubled in price since we first bought it.

“Live beta testers” is the new black it seems

What kind of stinks about this whole process is that they’ve made so many changes after beta. Like they were way too over-anxious to get this product out the door – without fully testing it. Isn’t that the purpose of the so-called “Beta?” To work this crap out BEFORE you release it to the wild?

That seems to be the norm in 2015 and beyond. People just don’t care. They have no internal remorse about any mistakes made by being too hasty. Sure, we’re all human – but this type of shit is happening more and more often. Look around!

Or even worse – hardly anyone can comprehend complex matters in a contemplative, patient way anymore. Knee-jerk reactions and rapid decisions without any true analysis.

We’ll see if they last – or just burn through their start up capital and fall by the wayside like many other over-hyped endeavors.

You may also like...

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thursday, October 15, 2015 5:05 pm

“It’s been amazing to see how deeply this idea has resonated with our customers and retail partners”
How exactly do you measure how deeply something resonates? Amazing? Really?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x