Merchant Innovation

Jet.com Takes On Amazon's Fresh

As retailers look for any way they can boost revenue, selling food products and fresh groceries, no matter the original vertical, is increasingly a safe bet. However, shipping them after online purchases can be an expensive proposition that only makes sense for a few — Amazon among them.

To the contrary, Jet.com says, as it starts up a pilot grocery delivery program of its own.

Re/code reported that the "Amazon killer" had begun shipping fresh groceries, including milk, eggs, produce and meat, to customers living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. During the "pilot test," Jet shoppers will receive their deliveries within one to two days, depending on the perishability of their orders, and purchases over $35 come with free shipping — though whether that was a stipulation specific to the pilot program and not to the wider grocery initiative was unclear.

That could be a significant point if and when Jet decides to take its nascent grocery delivery program to new markets. Amazon's equivalent service — Amazon Fresh — charges subscribers a $299 annual fee, and though that gives big spenders access to Prime as well, consumers looking for a bare-bones grocery delivery service might find more of what they like in Jet's approach. However, if convenience is key above all else, then Jet's delivery window might not be able to win many shoppers over in the face of Amazon's same-day and two-hour offerings.

Jet already turned plenty of heads its way when it kicked off with the implied mission of taking Amazon down a peg — or several — on the retail dominance scale, but if it can make headway on that path with fresh grocery delivery as its secret weapon, there will be more than a handful of retail pundits that find themselves eating crow.

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