To: Marc Lore, President and CEO of Walmart, CEO and Co-Founder of Jet

Dear Marc,

As the battle with Amazon continues to heat up, Walmart has the best chance to play offense in categories where Amazon either isn’t focused or isn’t succeeding. While both companies are competing heavily in the private label world, Amazon continues to leave the greater fashion marketplace wide open—scaring merchants away with its aggressive pricing, hamstrung by its legacy infrastructure, which prohibits it from creating aesthetically pleasing pages, and struggling with a brand identity that people associate with anything but contemporary and high-end fashion.

Jet, conversely, can build on its much more modern infrastructure and aesthetics. You have a big opportunity to put a stake in the ground to foster a merchant-first fashion marketplace that attracts leading brands and gives them a playground to develop their brands on. Its success would position Walmart/Jet as a premium leader and surely leave a long-lasting burn on your biggest competitor.

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Launch the Premium Pledge and Platform.

If Amazon has taken anything too far, it’s the company’s idea that “customer first” needs to be implemented at all costs, even if it puts suppliers and creators in peril. There will always be push and pull, and perhaps today, companies need to ultimately side with the shopper. But that doesn’t mean they should wreak havoc on the supplier ecosystem altogether.

More broadly, Jet has an opportunity to publicly pledge its values to suppliers and customers alike, and then build the platform to promote and enforce these standards and operating principles. Jet’s Premium Pledge, for example, could outline commitments to brands that sell through your marketplace, giving them the right to dictate pricing and discounting, determine their brand image and merchandise their products in ways that honor the brand and speak to its customers. Brands could even have dedicated URLs and landing pages.

Such a public pledge would go a long way toward attracting more premium brands, which need these assurances to feel comfortable selling their products on big platforms such as Jet. After all, Jet’s audience and infrastructure would be a big boon for many brands that are looking for growth.

To support this pledge, you could build either another section or entirely separate site called Jet Premium to showcase new brands and give them the building blocks they need to succeed. This opportunity extends far beyond fashion, where Amazon continues to dabble, and can lead to partnerships with brands in verticals from beauty and cosmetics to home, CPG to food. With the promise and the tools in place to give brands the control that they need, joining the Jet Platform will appeal to more meaningful players in the consumer economy. Instead of a zero-sum game, the platform will be a win-win both for customers and suppliers—and Jet itself. And, interestingly, if Amazon tries to compete in these categories by cutting prices, it will only further alienate suppliers, pushing more to you.

This is just one idea among many that would further Jet’s growth and allow it to stake out defensible positions where your competitors cannot. Let me know if you would like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and Lead Analyst
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