You’ve heard of building a better mousetrap, but what about a better mousetrap store? Marc Lore, the guy who sold Diapers.com to Amazon for $550 million, is betting that his new startup, Jet, can do e-commerce and online shopping better than his former buyer, the guys who perfected quality goods at low prices that you forgot you ordered while you were drunk.
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Jet.com, currently in private beta, will charge members $50 a year to access the lowest prices possible on a vast range of goods, with additional discount opportunities for buying items in larger quantities, purchasing multiple items from the same retailer, or waiving the right to return certain items — plus free shipping for orders over $35 and free returns. Jet claims that, by offering products that are on average 5-to-6 percent cheaper than anywhere online, they will ultimately save members at least $150 a year.
Of course, somewhere between 30 and 40 million Americans already pay $99 a year for Amazon Prime, where they get free 2-day shipping on more than 20 million items, plus all the streaming video, music, and e-books their data plan can handle. Should Prime members ditch all that in favor of the shiny new Jet?
Here’s an apples-to-apples price comparison of a few choice items you might need, including food, kids toys, gear, and diapers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include actual apples, because Jet doesn’t do produce yet.
Amazon vs. Jet: Grocery
Honey Nut Cheerios (21.6oz box)
Amazon vs. Jet: Baby Products
Amazon vs. Jet: Electronics
Amazon vs. Jet: Kids Toys
Let’s say you woke up one morning to discover all of the above in a shopping cart after another late night spending spree. You’d be into Amazon for $1,231.29, and only $1194.09 on Jet. That’s an unexciting savings of $37.20 — but Amazon only stays close in this competition because of the baby monitor (which is $45 more on Jet).
Correct for those single savings (since you should buy this baby monitor anyway), and Jet comes out ahead by $82.22. That’s nearly an 8 percent savings over Amazon and puts you well on your way to the $150 annual savings that Jet claims.
So, there you have it: If you’re a Prime member who isn’t watching a ton of Transparent or addicted to 2-day shipping, but is buying a ton of diapers and Cheerios, you might want to consider switching. And maybe quit it with the late night drunken shopping while you’re at it.