Part 2 – Exclusive Jet Preview- The Jet Buyer Experience

June 5, 2015

ChannelAdvisor Scot Wingo By Scot Wingo
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In March, based on the tremendous interest we received for the new marketplace Jet, we launched a three-post blog series with exclusive looks inside this exciting new e-commerce marketplace entrant.

It’s been a while and we wanted to wait until Jet was very close to launch and the buyer experience was ‘close to final’ before moving on to Part 2. Today we are releasing part 2 – An Exclusive look into the Jet.com buyer experience. Here’s a refresher of the three parts of the series:

  • Part 1: Background on Jet (Read this first!)
  • Part 2: The Jet buyer experience (you are here)
  • Part 3: What does Jet mean for sellers? (coming soon)

Welcome to Part 2 – Exclusive look at the Jet.com buyer experience.

Note that this post assumes you have read the first part of this series and have a good working knowledge of the key differentiators and innovations that Jet is working on. Also Jet is still in beta and making changes, you should assume the buyer experience will continue to change and this is what it looks like in early June 2015 during the insider preview mode/beta.

In Part 2, we are going to do a deep dive into the Jet buying experience. The number one question we have gotten from sellers about Jet, is “will they be successful”. We think Jet’s success hinges on two things:

1. Can they have a compelling Amazon-level consumer experience?

2. Can they deliver on their brand promise of “On average, Jet members save 10-15% per order.”

With that in mind, here’s the Jet home page that buyers see:

jet_homepae

You notice their motto: “Shop Brilliant.” is up front and center and the brand promise of savings is also there.

Like any modern e-commerce site, Jet offers a search experience (top center search bar) and a browse experience (“Shop Anything” is a category browse and “Shop Anywhere” is by store).

Where Jet is really different is in how  you build your basket and accumulate savings, so that is the path we are going to take you on.  Before we jump in, I wanted to share our methodology.

Methodology

Since Jet is focused on increasing savings as the buyer builds their cart, I thought it would be interesting to replicate an actual 3 item order that I made recently on Amazon in the apparel category and the electronics category.   This allows us to see the cart-building savings feature as well as compare these carts to Amazon and eBay to see the savings.  Note that while these are real-world carts that I personally ordered in the near past (last 60 days or less), this is not a comprehensive analysis of Jet prices vs. Amazon / eBay.  There are a couple of reports out that are comparing individual prices of items and while Jet tends to be lower even in that model, the real power of Jet is in building complete multi-item carts where the savings really kick in as you will see.

It’s important to note that this is not a comprehensive measure of Jet vs. Amazon vs. eBay pricing, but a very anecdotal and somewhat random look at two real-world baskets. That being said, it does help illustrate the power and incredible savings the Jet model can deliver.

When shopping on Amazon, I chose whoever owned the buy box and was Prime eligible.  For eBay, I only shopped with TRS sellers and went with the top bestmatch search result that was TRS.

The punch line

Now that I mentioned we are going to compare how Jet did vs. eBay and Amazon, you’re wondering how that played out and are going to be distracted through the tour, so I’m going to lead with the punch line here.  This table summarizes what you are going to find as we do the walkthrough:

jet_spreadsheet

  • For the apparel basket, Amazon was 27% more expensive than Jet and eBay was 23% more expensive than Jet.  Said another way, Jet was 21% cheaper than Amazon and Jet was 19% less expensive than eBay.
  • For the electronics basket, both eBay and Amazon were 44% more expensive than Jet.  Or said another way, Jet was 30% cheaper than Amazon and eBay.

Again, these are two random baskets and while I attempted to make them apples to apples, Jet offers features that eBay and Amazon do not (e.g. the ability to waive returns) and I wanted to take advantage of those on Jet, because that’s the point of the walk-through.

What I can say, is that I have switched many of my purchases to Jet after realizing I could save 20-40%.  That has been enough to dislodge me from my Amazon Prime-induced behaviors of just ordering at Amazon.

Now that you are back with me and not focused on the savings, let me show you how I got there.

Apparel basket walk-through

There are three things in this order:

  • A pair of Merrell shoes
  • A Fossil belt
  • A pair of Izod khaki pants

I’m a bit of a boring shopper, I like to order things I’ve already ordered before and know that they are going to fit.  One of the biggest Jet features for me is the savings on returns.  Before jumping into that, let me walk you through the search and item pages for a couple of items so you can see that experience.

First, let’s find the Merrell shoes:

I search for “mens merrell” and am presented with a grid of products.  you can see I have nice left-nav filtering for category (mens in my case), color, size, etc.

jet_shoe_serp

I quickly filter and find the pair of shoes I want to buy – the super-comfy size 10 Bitter Root (aka brown) Merrell Chameleons:

jet_merrell_item_page

Here you can see these are priced $140 at competitors and my Jet member price is $120.40 – so I’ve already saved $20!  Once you add an item to your cart, you now are told how many other items are ‘smart cart enabled’ – this is that $ badge in a splash.  What that means is sellers have said – if you add one of these items to your order, you’ll save even more on the entire cart.

jet_merrell_smartcart

For this item there are now 600k items that are smart-cart friendly.

Now I look for my belt:

jet_belt_serp

Here you can see each of the belts shows the additional savings I get by adding it.  I’m looking for the Theo belt, which I find and add to the cart. Now there are 3m items that have smartcart (some for shoes and some for belt, I presume).  Also, you can see I’ve now saved $5 (belt) + $20 (shoes) and they kick in an additional ~$2 for smart cart.  Trust me when I say this – saving on Jet is a bit contagious and you have to be careful not to go too crazy on the cart.  It’s very much like shopping at Costco… Well, surely I could use 100 burritos and 2 million straws… I’ll never need straws or burritos again!!!

jet_belt_smartcart_savings

Now you get the feel for it, so I go and find the pants and now have this cart:

jet_clothes_smart_cart_before

I’ve racked up $33.59 in savings at this point on these three items and note that unlike traditional marketplaces, I don’t know who I am ordering from (think Priceline).  Let me say that again – I do not know who the seller is at this point!

But here’s more Jet magic – see those boxes to the right of each item, they say I can save $2 on the belt, $2 on the pants and a whopping $8.35 on the shoes if I waive returns.  This is literally the third belt, 10th pair of these pants and 5th exact pair of these items I have ordered and I 100% know they will fit so I waive returns:

jet_clothes_smart_cart_after

BAM!!! Now I’m up to $40 savings on this item.  This was a $200 cart and now it is $160.

Now I proceed to checkout:

jet_clothes_cart

Now what’s interesting is you can see my address and the payment type (I’ve blacked out some personal info here).  But when I was paying with credit card I received a .05% savings.   Jet told me that if I used my debit card, that would go up to 1.5%.  While I won’t get miles, I figured 1% cash back is a better deal, so went with that.

Even in Checkout Jet has not told me who the retailer is other than “Jet Trusted Retail Partner”:

Total cart: $161.52.

Now here’s the same cart on Amazon:

amzn_clothes_cart_2

Amazon is $204.94 with the pants causing the biggest % difference followed by shoes.

And eBay:  For eBay it was tough to find everything comparable, but I got there in the end and it took me literally 10x longer than Jet and Amazon:

ebay_clothes_cart

On eBay, I’m not feeling great about those pants – the picture is taken on someones 1970’s shag rug, but it’s all I could find that were new (yuck!).

As you can see the eBay cart came in at $198.59.  Notice that the shipping for the belt is in the 5-day window and the shoes are 6-13 days, so I probably would get them much later than Jet (2-5 day) and Amazon (2 day).

Post-transaction result – I only ordered from Jet and I received everything in 3 business days which exceeded my expectations.   And for 25% savings,  I was happy to wait a day later than Amazon.  The packages did say who shipped the items and what I will say is there were two merchants and they were both name-brand retailers.

Note that there is a Jet and eBay tax advantage over Amazon which is a bit ironic, but where Amazon is given their large FC network and their deals with over half the states to collect tax.  I didn’t include that here but for my state it added an additional 5% that would have been advantaged to Jet and eBay.

Electronics basket walk-through

Now for electronics, I had a new gigabit connection added to my house recently and needed some gear for that.  I wanted a dropcam for home security and finally have succumbed to the gadget pressure to get a GoPro so three items in this order:

  • Asus RT-AC66U wifi router
  • Dropcam HD
  • GoPro HERO (basic, no accessories)

What I learned here is the smart cart savings for electronics were much larger than accessories, and the allowance for waiving returns was smaller (make sense).  Here’s my Jet cart:

jet_electronics_cart

Here you can see:

  • The GoPro is $107.18 (wow!)
  • ASUS is $123.67
  • Dropcam is $171.14

So my savings is $87 on this cart already, and when I waive returns I get to:

jet_electronics_cart2

$94 savings on this cart.  Finally when I checkout with my debit card, I get to:

jet_electronics_cart3

$384.50 for this cart.  Note that in this checkout it has revealed that the router is sold by HPP Enterprises.

Here’s the Amazon cart:

amazon_electronic_cart

Amazon was pretty competitive on the GoPro $130 vs. $107 @Jet, but what really killed Amazon was the Dropcam.  It seems that Dropcam/Nest/Google are in some dispute over this item  and thus it was only available on the marketplace and the buy-box was owned by a merchant charging $252 (vs. Jet at $171).

Amazon cart: $551.85 vs. Jet cart at $384.50 – Advantage Jet!

Here’s the eBay cart:

ebay_electronics_cart2

For the eBay cart, I literally had to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get just a GoPro from a TRS -that category is totally polluted and shady, but I think I ended up with the comparable model.  To be honest I cannot be 100% sure until it arrives as they called it ‘Black’ in the description, but I didn’t want the ‘black edition’).  Another interesting aspect of eBay, I had to do expedited shipping on the Asus router to get it in a reasonable time.  The default was 15 business days, so that added $10 to the basket.  eBay won on the Dropcam vs. Amazon, but lost on the Asus and the GoPro.

eBay cart: $551.93 vs. Jet cart at $384.50 – Advantage Jet!

Conclusion

I hope this exclusive walk-through of two real-world carts has shown you how Jet plans to deliver real, material savings to buyers (~25% for apparel and 40% for electronics in these examples).  In the next post, we’ll take a step back and think through what this innovative new concept could mean for the e-commerce industry and key players like eBay, Amazon, Google, Walmart, etc.

 

This blog was written by Scot Wingo, Executive Chairman and Founder of ChannelAdvisor.

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