September 13, 2018 / 10:12 AM / 2 months ago

Walmart's Jet.com to offer Nike products in bid for urban consumers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Walmart’s Jet.com said on Thursday it will sell Nike Inc products and offer more delivery options, beginning in its top market of New York City, in a bid to sharpen its aim for affluent, urban consumers and better compete with e-commerce rivals like Amazon.com Inc.

FILE PHOTO: The Nike swoosh logo is pictured on a store in New York City, New York, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Walmart Inc acquired Jet for $3.3 billion in August 2016, a deal that was widely considered a watershed moment for its then-struggling e-commerce operation as it got access to both technology and talent through Jet founder Marc Lore and his team.

“We both had a keen interest in serving that urban affluent customer,” said Jet’s chief customer officer, David Echegoyen. The relationship with Nike, scheduled for kick-off in October, would “bring customers on Jet a set of everything,” he added.

Nike launched a pilot to sell footwear and apparel on Amazon last year, in a dramatic turnaround after long steering clear of the world’s largest online retailer. That partnership was a signal that Amazon was serious about fighting counterfeit goods on its site and was courting once weary fashion brands. This summer, Nike’s chief executive officer told analysts on a conference call that the partnership was “progressing well.”

Jet’s relationship with Nike is less about the Nike product and more about how consumers go about discovering a sneaker or running shoe, Jet executives said.

Jet said it is still finalizing the line-up of Nike products to be offered on the site.Jet is separately courting urban millennial customers through initiatives in another category: grocery. “We’re bringing a grocery experience together with a fashion experience with a home experience that customers can check out in one cart,” Jet’s CEO, Simon Belsham, said.

Through Parcel, the last-mile delivery tech company acquired by Walmart in 2017, most New York City consumers will be able to arrange three-hour scheduled delivery windows for groceries - now including fresh produce - and other merchandise from local shops.

Jet said it is making plans to offer these delivery options nationwide, but will first test them in New York City.

Jet executives said the initiatives were not in response to Amazon Prime Now, the company’s two-hour delivery service that lets customers shop Whole Foods and other local stores in cities around the world.

Many analysts view Amazon as unmatched in handling distribution and delivery for non-perishable goods, meaning other e-commerce players may be challenged to offer the same level of service.

Amazon has more than 150 fulfillment centers around the world, the company has said.

Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Vanessa O'Connell and Leslie Adler

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