Here’s Walmart’s latest weapon in its war on Amazon and Target. Should you try it?
Meet your new favorite everything.
That’s the tagline for Uniquely J, a new private-label brand from Jet.com, which was acquired by Walmart last year for more than $3 billion. The label offers foods like coffee, sauces and dips and household goodies like toilet paper and plant-based, cruelty-free, non-GMO cleaning products — all decked out in its clean, purple, millennial-friendly design.
The move is likely one designed, at least in part, to help e-commerce site Jet.com better compete with Amazon, which recently purchased Whole Foods — and with that got access to Whole Foods private label brand, 365. Amazon.com now sells more than 1,000 Whole Foods products on its website. It may also be trying to compete with Target’s private label brands like Up & Up, says Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing with DealNews.
The private-label items on Jet.com are reportedly being positioned as higher quality than some other national brands. And while that remains to be seen (stay tuned for Moneyish’s comparison of Uniquely J, 365, and other brands in the coming weeks), we do already know what some of the deals Uniquely J is offering — and whether they are better than Target, Amazon and other competitors. Here’s what the experts say.
One good deal: coffee. Both Brent Shelton of Dealcrunch.com and smart shopping expert Trae Bodge of truetrae.com note that their single serve coffee is a good deal — besting prices on Amazon, Starbucks and Keurig in many cases. And, says Bodge, “their ground coffee is less expensive than the Starbucks brand.” She even thinks that coffee will be their “winning category” with a combination of solid prices and packaging that is “cool and edgy, which I think will appeal to the younger consumers they are attempting to target.”
Storage bags also are good deals, agree both Shelton and Sakraida. That includes things like sandwich bags, gallon freezer bags and trash bags, Shelton adds.
But, Bodge says that, for the most part, she hasn’t seen any “spectacular” deals from Uniquely J, noting that “the prices in paper goods, plastic goods and cleaning products are either comparable or slightly higher than most brands in this space, like Up & Up, Method and Simple Truth Organic (salsas and sauces).”
And Sakraida says that “when you compare several of Uniquely J’s prices to Up & Up, it’s clear that Jet isn’t aggressive with its pricing.” She cites laundry detergent, dish soap, and toilet paper, as items that Target’s Up & Up line often offers for less. “For example, most laundry detergents from Up & Up cost about 6 or 7 cents per ounce, whereas Uniquely J costs 13 cents per ounce, sometimes more,” she says.
A spokesperson for Jet.com notes that “we offer fair prices across our assortment of over 50 SKUs and that the products have “a great ratio of price to quality.” Furthermore, she adds that “consumers can save by shopping our bundle options and we’ll also be planning other savings, including, offering a mobile-only offer for our app customers — up to $5 off any single Uniquely J item.
For his part, Shelton says he was impressed by the amount of fragrance-free cleaning supplies — dish soap, laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner — as these kinds of products can “sometimes be hard to find.” But he cautions that “in terms of pricing, it seems similar to what you’d find at the grocery store for other eco-friendly or fragrance-free lines. While it may be more convenient to shop online — especially with 2-day delivery — it’s important to note that you can often find lots of specials for these kinds of products in stores, including coupons, BOGO offers, and more,” he says.
So what’s the verdict? If you want to give Uniquely J a try, start with the coffee and/or storage bags, both of which are well priced and will give you the option to try out the higher quality claims.
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