Jet.com is an online retailer offering discounted prices on a wide variety of products, and its profits derive from annual subscription fees that members pay. Using algorithms, prices change in real time depending on the combination of products in the customer's shopping cart. Jet claims that it makes its entire profit from the subscription fees, and that it does everything possible to give customers the lowest possible prices.
Not Your Typical Shopping Club
Jet combines the conveniences of online shopping with discounts typically only available when buying products in bulk from brick-and-mortar club stores such as Costco or Sam's Club. While Jet does offer bulk-sized items, all of its merchandise is discounted, and most of the products sold are the typical consumer packages sold in most retail stores. The site promises that members will save an average of 10 to 15% per order and guarantees the lowest online prices on over 10 million items.
How Discounts Are Calculated
On the surface, the user interface seems simple; however, the process to determine the prices is quite complex. The site employs a variety of strategies that shoppers can use to save even more, including filtering by smart items, opting for a different form of payment or agreeing to not return an item in exchange for a discount. Jet also passes along commissions it receives from third-party vendors. As shoppers add more smart items to their shopping carts, the overall price for the order is discounted in real time using the company's proprietary software, which works more like a trading system than a traditional e-commerce site.
Jet, which is available on both desktop and mobile platforms, features icons that show customers products that cost less when bought together, usually because they ship from the same distribution centers or merchants. Most retailers account for credit card processing fees and costs of returns by raising the prices of every product. Jet gives customers the choice to lower the price of their orders further while checking out by forgoing these options and using debit cards or waiving the right to return the product for free.
What Separates Jet From the Competition
The creators of Jet believe the appeal is simple: the site offers the lowest prices anywhere online. Jet thinks shoppers are tired of paying premiums for the convenience of one-stop online shopping. Bargain-hunting shoppers who are used to checking forums or using apps and browser extensions to find the lowest online prices can just shop at Jet, knowing that it guarantees its price to be the lowest available. As a sign of its intentions to compete directly with the retail giants, Jet presents its customers with the prices from other sites, such as Amazon.com and Walmart.com, along with the Jet prices.
Clever Marketing Tactics and Member Perks
A popular marketing strategy that many startups use when they are looking to make a splash is funny and creative videos that tell the story of the company while engaging viewers. Jet has created several videos that have gone viral introducing potential customers to the service while making them laugh.
Jet members can also earn JetCash rewards on up to 30% of purchases from hundreds of non-Jet merchants across the Web. They can then use their JetCash rewards balance toward future purchases that they place through Jet. As of its launch in 2015, annual memberships for Jet are $49.99; members receive free shipping on orders over $35 and free returns on every order. Jet's merchandise offerings include grocery items, pet supplies, household products, appliances, electronics, toys, jewelry, electronics, baby products, furniture, sporting goods and books.