More than two-thirds of Jetblack members engage with the brand weekly, spending an average of $1,500 per month, President and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S. Marc Lore said at the company's 2019 associates and shareholders meeting.
Lore also briefly described the Intelligent Retail Lab that lives inside a Levittown, New York store. That's where "we're testing ideas that could revolutionize retail as we know it," including using computer vision and artificial intelligence to see inventory levels in real time, he said. "It will allow us to speed up section work, improve on-shelf availability, and have more facetime with customers," Lore explained.
The shareholder's meeting came shortly after Walmart's announcements of next-day delivery and InHome Delivery, the latter of which will allow customers to get groceries delivered directly to their kitchens.
Jetblack's members-only service uses a blend of artificial intelligence and human know-how to solve shopping quandaries via text message. The service launched with a $50 membership fee and now has a waitlist. But Jetblack still doesn't offer cold grocery items, which is where a crossover with Walmart's new in-home delivery program could potentially bridge the gap.
Walmart already sees hefty baskets at its pickup lanes, with an average $124.86 grocery trip versus an average in-store total of just under $50. Customers using the pickup service also spend an average $10 more per pickup after making a dozen or more trips, according to data from Numerator. The evidence from grocery pickup and the takeoff of its Jetblack service go against the stereotypical image of Walmart as a discount superstore and start to craft another that's more upscale.
At the same shareholders event, President and CEO of Walmart Inc. Doug McMillon noted that associates across the company have been working to help busy customers "buy" time. The company previously announced an augmented reality scanner in its iOS app to help customers pull pricing and customer ratings for products they find on shelves, and the retailer's Intelligent Retail Lab has been working on associate-facing and customer-facing applications for stores for about six months.
Jetblack was developed at the company's California-based startup incubator, Store No. 8, that has also worked on virtual reality applications.