Walmart will let US shoppers order by text message

US retail giant Walmart has formally unveiled its new 24-hour delivery service, ‘Jetblack’, which will allow US shoppers to order pretty much anything except groceries via text message.

For a monthly subscription fee of $50, buyers will be able to place orders directly receive personalised product recommendations based on their buying habits. They'll also be communicating directly with dedicated Jetblack staff - not a chatbot - at all hours of the day. You can see more in the trailer below:

The service can be used for products across both Walmart and Jet.com, which was bought by Walmart back in 2016, with other named retail partners including Saks and Pottery Barn. Customers can expect to receive free wrapping with their orders, fast delivery times, and a convenient postal returns service.

Though access to the service is currently limited to New York City, where Walmart has quietly been trialing the feature in recent months, it’d be surprising not to see this feature rolled out across other major US cities in the near future.

Convenience is king

As you’ll see in the video, the marketing seems to be targeting reasonably affluent parents who may be short of time (or free hands) when caring for their children. 

As a time-saving measure, or a more accessible interface for less-abled users, dropping a few lines of text requires significantly fewer steps than ordering and paying through a traditional browser.

The service was developed by the retailer’s technology-startup incubator, Store No. 8, set up last year to help Walmart innovate its sale and distribution methods in the retail space. Other prospective ventures from the incubator include a planned network of cashier-less stores, in the vein of Amazon Go.

Text-messaging isn’t exactly cutting-edge technology, but the convenience it offers may be enough to tempt shoppers who want to spend less time on shopping and ordering.