Walmart continues to battle for internet relevance with the launch of Jetblack, the company’s new personal shopping service that you text. Jetblack is powered by automated bots and real live humans who’ll do their best to fulfill your requests. “Need it. Text it. Get it. Jetblack is the easiest way for busy moms to shop,” reads the tagline. Sorry, dads.
Jetblack, or “J” as we’re supposed to call it, begins life exclusively in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Members text questions or specific shopping requests directly to the Wal-borg, where its network of AI-driven bots and professional buyers will scurry into action. The service can recommend the best TV, for example, or gifts for any desired occasion. Deliveries will arrive on the same day, or the next, without additional charges. There’s no minimum spend (hello, after-party lollipop!), and Jetblack will come to you to collect any returns. Gift wrapping is free, but you can’t order food.
Membership is available by invitation only and costs $50 per month. Should you be judged worthy, then a 10-minute phone call from the service will suss out your favorite brands, family allergies, and frequently ordered items.
The service has been operational in stealth for the last eight months, with members buying more than 10 items a week, according to Bloomberg, with thousands of people already lined up on J’s waiting list.
Jetblack is the brainchild of Jenny Fleiss, who joined Walmart’s Store No. 8 technology incubator last year after having previously founded Rent the Runway. Its launch follows a revamp of walmart.com in May that focused on “upscale” fashion.