Feb 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Walmart fumbles in the battle for wealthy shoppers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Walmart’s expensive attempt to woo wealthy shoppers is ending in failure.

Driving the news: Jetblack, Walmart’s personal shopping startup, is closing its doors, per WSJ. The service, which charged members $600 a year for a personal shopper whom they could text to get anything delivered — except fresh food — was costing the company thousands of dollars because it just never gained much popularity.

Jetblack was only available in New York City. Still, "in a city of 8+ million people, fewer than 1,000 were signed up for Jetblack as of last year," according to Retail Brew.

The big picture: Walmart and Amazon have long dominated two different cohorts of shoppers. While Walmart reigns over redder, more rural and lower-income America, Amazon commands the larger, liberal metros.

  • But recently, as each behemoth seeks to own the future of retail, they've been stepping on each other's toes.
  • Walmart's Jetblack was its signature attempt to crack the market of the very wealthiest American shoppers, many of whom are already Prime members. But Amazon's ubiquitousness in big cities and among wealthier consumers is difficult to crack.

Go deeper

Walmart tests rival to Amazon Prime

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walmart plans to start publicly testing its new membership program called Walmart+ next month in hopes of competing with Amazon Prime, Recode's Jason Del Rey scoops.

Why it matters: The paid membership program "would include perks that Amazon can’t replicate, in part to avoid a direct comparison to Prime."

Walmart to expand its low-cost health care centers

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walmart is looking to expand its role in health care delivery, Bloomberg reports.

Details: Walmart stores already frequently house pharmacies and vision centers, but its new health centers — there are two so far — would offer more comprehensive medical, vision and dental care, along with X-rays and lab tests.

Go deeperArrowFeb 26, 2020 - Health

Why Amazon's bigger Go grocery stores matter

An Amazon Go store in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

With the opening of its first large-format cashier-less grocery store in Seattle on Tuesday, Amazon is on its way to further expanding its physical footprint across U.S. cities.

The big picture: Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Whole Foods was never the end of its grocery ambitions — or its fight to win a bigger share of the whopping $700 billion per year American grocery industry. With its own network of stores, Amazon could attract shoppers looking for cheaper prices than Whole Foods and dramatically grow its brick-and-mortar reach.