The Latest on Amazon Competitor Jet.com

By: George Hancock Jr.  |  April 30, 2015

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Jet.com creator Marc Lore has raised $225 Million for his shopping website that hasn’t even been launched yet. His Amazon competitor will offer lots of ways to save money, such as shipping things in one box, opting out of the option to return your order, ordering from a nearby location, and choosing a low-cost payment method. Because customers will have to pay a monthly fee, Lore says his site is something like an e-Costco. Here’s what he’s up to lately.

Investment

Yesterday Forbes revealed that the Amazon of the East, Alibaba.com, invested in Jet. Lore and Alibaba both declined to comment on the investment. The funding is helpful to Jet, but it’s also part of Alibaba’s strategy. The company likes to keep an eye on Silicon Valley trends and stay involved.

Goals

Jet aims to have one million paying customers by the end of 2015, and 15 million customers within five years. It’s also hoping for $20 billion in annual gross merchandise volume by 2020. Amazon’s gross volume in 2012 was around $95 billion. Alibaba’s was upwards of $170 billion, although its markets are not the same as Amazon’s.

Setting up Shop

Lore told Business Insider that the site has about 5 million products on the beta site, and is aiming for 10 million for its official launch in mid-June. In the next few months, Jet will continue to refine its search and data quality capabilities. The company has two warehouses and plans to open one more before launch. The goal is geographic coverage, to enable shipping in two days or less. For orders above $35, shipping will be free.

Insiders

Jet.com insiders are people who signed up during a window that Lore opened earlier this year. Those who were able to refer the most additional registrants received prizes. The person with the most referrals received 100,000 stock options. The top 100 got a free lifetime membership and the remaining 900 in the top 1000 got a free 5-year membership. All insiders received a free 6-month membership. Insiders can browse the beta site in the meantime and Lore says he’s going to listen to all the feedback he can get from his insiders before the website is opened to the rest of the world.

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