What Walmart Buying Jet Means For You (and Amazon)

Walmart has been fighting for Amazon's spot on the eCommerce throne for a while now, introducing it's own Amazon Prime alternative and even trying to compete with Prime Day. The retailer has taken things a step further by acquiring discount shopping site Jet.com for $3 billion, according to CNBC, a move that could improve Walmart's online shopping experience while giving the company it's best shot yet at snagging some of Amazon's customer base.

So what exactly does Walmart's big acquisition mean for shoppers? Company CEO Doug McMillon says that Jet will help Walmart provide the "simplest, easiest shopping experience," and we wouldn't be surprised to see Walmart.com to get a significant redesign as a result of the buy. Walmart's online efforts will now be run by Jet CEO Marc Lore, an eCommerce veteran who knows a thing or two about creating a thriving shopping site (he also founded Diapers.com, which is now owned by Amazon).

MORE: What Is Jet.com?

If you're a faithful Jet.com shopper, fret not -- an official press release says that Jet and Walmart will remain distinct brands, meaning that you'll likely still get to take advantage of the site's unique, wholesale approach to online shopping.

Photo: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Photo: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Jet.com aims to offer products for 5 to 6 percent cheaper than what you'd find elsewhere, and the more you buy, the more you save. The retailer currently boasts 400,000 new shoppers a month and processes about 25,000 orders a day, and with Walmart's resources behind it, Jet should have a pretty easy time increasing those numbers. 

It remains to be seen whether Walmart.com will leverage Jet's price-comparing, money-saving technology in any way. Still, Jet will likely get plenty of extra exposure as a result of the deal, which could lead a good chunk of customers to realize they could be saving money on something they almost bought on Amazon. It also helps that Jet.com attracts many millennials and those who live in urban areas, an area where Walmart could use help.

While Jet.com will allow Walmart to offer its customers more options for shopping and saving, the retailer will need more than that to topple Amazon. The Seattle-based retailer has evolved into one of tech's biggest goliaths, offering first-party gadgets like Kindle tablets and the Echo speaker as well as Amazon Prime, which gives customers free shipping as well as huge music and video streaming libraries for a single yearly $99 fee.

The online gap between Walmart and Amazon is a large one, with Walmart earning $15 billion in online sales last year versus a whopping $99 for Amazon.

On the flipside, with Jet in the spotlight, Amazon may get even more aggressive about providing low prices. Still, until Walmart and Jet can offer similar mix of products that go beyond physical goods, Amazon has little to worry about.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.