Jet.com Works to Reinvent the Shopping Cart

In its ongoing efforts to compete with Amazon, marketplace site Jet.com is working to reinvent the shopping cart.

Jet.com’s proprietary “smart cart” encourages people to shop more by offering efficient shipping discounts. Jet.com is built on a real-time pricing algorithm that determines which sellers are the most efficient in value and shipping, and adjusts prices based on what items are in the cart, as well as how far the desired products are from the shopper’s home. As shoppers place items in their cart, they’re encouraged to add more to build a more efficient cart and buy “smart cart” items for more savings.

Jet.com founder and CEO, Marc Lore.
Jet.com founder and CEO, Marc Lore.

As CEO Marc Lore explained to CNBC, Jet.com’s “smart cart” dynamically reprices products as you shop to “reflect the true marginal cost of getting that product to you.”

The system works by identifying items by size and DC location. If two items are located in the same DC and can fit in a single box, then the shopper is offered a single low shipping cost. Other related items located in the same DC that could be most efficiently bundled with the order are identified as “smart items”, with cost savings offered to the shopper.

Jet.com is also offering discounts to shoppers who waive the right to return products, thereby saving money on the costly and resource heavy returns process and providing a value add for shoppers who don’t need the returns service.

Jet.com originally operated as a shopping club, charging customers a US$50 per year membership fee. However, the company reworked its business model shortly after launching, ditching the membership fee and larger discounts and instead promising to undercut Amazon and other retailers by 4 percent to 5 percent.

Lore is no stranger to competing with Amazon. He co-founded Diapers.com in 2005, which Amazon eventually bought out for US$500 million

Since launching in 2014, Jet.com has grown strongly. It’s adding 350,000 new customers per month and expects to soon hit US$1 billion is gross merchandise value.

The company expects to reach profitability in 2020 with a customer base of over 15 million people.

Check out the 3:50 mark of the video below for a tech run down on how the Jet.com algorithm works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlrSKnMrI10

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