Practical Ecommerce

Jet vs. Amazon: A Quick Comparison

Jet launched a few months back, claiming that it will be the Amazon killer. Jet’s original model was similar to Costco, where consumers must pay a membership fee to shop on the site. But then Jet changed. It is now free for all.

I recently tried Jet, to assess its potential versus Amazon. I picked a simple purchase of one breakfast cereal item: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch. On Amazon, I ran the test as a new shopper to avoid Amazon personalizing my experience based on historical data.

Product Search and Price

Product search worked well on Jet and I was able to find the item easily. But on Amazon, the cereal was available only as part of the Prime Pantry service. Since I set up a new account, I did not sign up for Prime and hence I could not place the order with this item. But I did note the price.

The same box of Raisin Bran Crunch was cheaper on Jet by 12 cents. That’s not a huge amount. But it is significant, especially considering that a shopper must first pay for Prime prior to purchasing.

Jet offered to further reduce the price if I ordered in bulk. So, I increased the quantity of the cereal to the maximum allowed — 10 boxes. That made Jet significantly cheaper than Amazon.

Increasing the quantity to 10 boxes made Jet significantly cheaper than Amazon.

Increasing the quantity to 10 boxes made Jet significantly cheaper than Amazon.

Moreover, since it was my first purchase, Jet gave me a coupon for another $10 off the total order value. This reduced the price to a level where I doubt that Jet made any profit on this transaction. It will presumably be impossible to sustain business at this price point; I have not purchased this cereal for such a low price in the last 15 years.

Jet wins on price, especially since Amazon requires a shopper to first join Prime.

Shopping Experience

The overall shopping experience on Jet was pleasant. The site was easy to navigate and uncluttered. The only thing I missed was Amazon-style ratings and reviews. But since Raisin Bran Crunch is a commodity item that I have used in the past, ratings and reviews are not that important.

It will, perhaps, take time for Jet to add ratings and reviews to the product pages. It could speed up the process by using a third-party rating-and-reviews provider.

The clean user interface for Jet was a welcome change from the cluttered Amazon pages. It reminded me of Google’s “less is more” design tenet.

Shipping

Jet offers free shipping for orders over $35 — like Amazon. Since I ordered 10 boxes of the cereal, I received free 2-day shipping. This is unlike Amazon where, even if the cereal was available for non-Prime members, it would not arrive in two days. Delivery for Amazon items like cereal is 5 to 7 days if ordered without Prime.

The order was shipped on time and I could track it for the promised 2-day delivery. The 10 boxes of cereal did, in fact, arrive in 2 days, nicely packed in the big box shown below.

The 10 boxes of cereal arrived in 2 days, nicely packed in a big purple box.

The 10 boxes of cereal arrived in 2 days, nicely packed in a big purple box.

Summary

Jet has a long way to go before it creates a dent in Amazon’s sales. But I liked Jet. It has the potential to hijack Amazon customers, especially for commodity items, by competing on price and customer service. The question is how can Jet turn a profit on these items and retain customers once it ends promotional pricing.

Have you shopped on Jet.com? If yes, please share your experience.

Gagan Mehra

Gagan Mehra

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Comments ( 5 )

  1. Pamela Hazelton October 20, 2015 Reply

    I think it all boils down to product type. I tested in athletic wear, down to the specific walking shoes I wear, and found Jet to be 10% to 20% higher than Amazon.

    Other items, though, were less expensive.

    I think Jet is going to be another site for comparative shopping for products we already use.

  2. paul October 20, 2015 Reply

    i also ordered from jet in first week. prices were good and i liked clean navigations but also missed recommendations and reviews. recommendations are good for browsing but if you know what you want the clean design is great. overall the price and shipping speed were great!

  3. Reed October 21, 2015 Reply

    They don’t make it easy to test out as a marketplace seller. We wanted to upload a few products to see how the system compared to Amazon before making a big commitment but it can only be done with their API or through one of their partners. We decided to wait for a while and see how things develop for them and what other changes might take place.

  4. Daniel December 9, 2015 Reply

    Jet.com is going to be a serious competitor for amazon. We see many merchants are desperately looking for an alternative to Amazon. We provide JET API integration services via our platform http://www.geekseller.com, and a demand is huge.

  5. David Scarpitta June 3, 2016 Reply

    I tried going up against Amazon on price and service with https://www.DasCheap.com and I lost money on more than 85% percent of the transactions, in hopes that the “lifetime value” of the customer would pan out to eventually profitable.

    The bottom line is, that it’s insanely hard, and you have to have some intense Billionaire dollars to lose that much to gain market share on everyday items.

    It’s not a game for the squeamish, and honestly I don’t see Jet as a competitor when all they are booking on is lowest common denominator which is price.

    This is where the law of diminishing return will come into play!