Walmart’s Jetblack: Managing Luxury Service on Conversational Commerce

Case Solution

Gaganpreet Singh, Sanjit K Roy, Kiran Pedada, Laknath Jayasinghe
Indian School of Business ()

In 2018, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, launched Jetblack, a luxury shopping concierge service that allowed consumers to browse and purchase items via SMS. It’s a classic example of the danger of adding a relatively luxury brand to the portfolio of a family of non-luxury brands. Jetblack’s service combines artificial intelligence (AI) and the individual attention of trained experts to identify the most suitable products for its customers. After the introduction of Jetblack, customer registrations increased and both the frequency and breadth of member purchases increased. Early customers also said that SMS was their favorite aspect of the service. However, Jetblack’s inability to scale its business operations proved to be a significant challenge with serious financial implications. Through 2019, Jetblack lost around $ 15,000 per customer per year. On February 21, 2020, Walmart announced that it was shutting down its exclusive Jetblack concierge shopping startup due to limited retail registrations and insufficient investment.

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