Walmart's $3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com is still the foundation on which all of its e-commerce dreams are built

Business Insider | 6/13/2019 | Dennis Green
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Walmart bought hot e-commerce startup Jet.com in a $3.3 billion deal in 2016.

Now, Walmart is folding all Jet employees in to the rest of its e-commerce operations, while retaining the Jet brand.

Jet - Niche - Walmart - Acquisition - Role

While Jet has struggled to thrive in the niche Walmart wanted it to fill, the acquisition has still played a fundamental role in the strong growth of Walmart.com.

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Walmart - World - Startup - Jetcom - Deal

Walmart shocked the world when it bought hot e-commerce startup Jet.com in a $3.3 billion deal in 2016.

CEO Doug McMillon hailed it as a new era for Walmart.

Jetcom - Walmart - Com - Assets - Ways

"Together, both Jet.com and Walmart.com will be able to leverage each other's assets to grow the ways we serve customers," he wrote in a Walmart blog post as the deal closed.

Some still scratched their heads. One analyst joked that Walmart was " lighting money on fire."

Walmart - Website - Mass - Population - Com

After all, Walmart already had a website that was directed at a mass population. How would Walmart.com and Jet.com work together? Would they inevitably clash?

Over the next three years, it was something of a tale of two websites. Walmart.com surged, adding millions of items to its selection and growing e-commerce sales 40% in 2018.

Time - Jet - Niche - Consumer - Walmart

At the same time, Jet was refocused on serving a much smaller niche: the urban millennial consumer, which Walmart has historically found hard to reach. The site subsequently saw falling traffic and sales as it tightened its focus. According to Kantar estimates cited by Reuters, Jet's sales shrunk to $689 million in 2019, down from the $1 billion it forecasted in 2016.

Now, the rest of Jet's retail, marketing, technology,...
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