After several years of deemphasis, Walmart will officially discontinue Jet.com, the ecommerce platform it purchased for USD3.3 billion in 2016. Helping to accelerate Walmart’s digital transformation in recent years, Jet was also viewed as a vehicle for targeting non-typical Walmart shoppers in affluent coastal cities. The decision to discontinue comes as the retailer believes the Walmart brand with its deep investments in online grocery, rapid home delivery, and the utilization of supercenters for click and collect is now resonating sufficiently with consumers across demographics.
This is not the first sunsetting of an acquired brand name for Walmart, which moved to sell ecommerce fashion retailer Modcloth two years after purchasing it. The continuous evolution of Walmart’s capabilities and positioning mirrors the necessary omnichannel shift the retailer has had to undergo to succeed in today’s ecommerce-driven environment.
In its latest show of strength, Walmart rapidly adapted to COVID-19 and saw intense growth during its most recent quarter, with US comp sales up 10.9% and US ecommerce growing by 74% during the period. Driven by relatively wide selection, high levels of stock, local inventory and advanced fulfillment capabilities, brands should view the recent success seen by Walmart and other omnichannel players as reinforcing stores as a competitive advantage and enabling tool for ecommerce success.
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