How great UX turned into a $3.3bn business in two years

26 Aug 2016

Earlier this month, US retailer Wal-Mart bought ecommerce startup for $3.3bn (the biggest eCommerce acquisition ever) in a bid to compete with Amazon online. But what made a company only two years old worth so much?

It’s not always the financial figures or profitability that make a company valuable in the long run. The greatest asset of is how they’ve created one of the most seamless eCommerce experiences in just 2 years.


Creating a customer-focused business from scratch

When running a successful eCommerce business, the main principle to follow is put customers’ desires and needs first.

This is just what excels at the most with their innovative shopping experience. As Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon put it in a recent interview:

“If Wal-Mart were starting today and we were building an eCommerce business, some of the things that Jet designed into their approach would have been things we would have thought of and we would have wanted to do, and they’ve just done it from scratch.”’s founder Marc Lore will now lead Wal-Mart’s US eCommerce operations as well as to create a strong rival for Amazon. One thing he has to keep in mind is that what worked for customers, might not necessarily work out the same way for Wal-Mart.

Understand your own customers to improve their experience

The real value is in the careful and continuous Customer Experience (CX) planning and usability testing that has given the winning edge and a price tag of $3.3bn.


Watch our customer behaviour insights workshop at the B2B Masterclass Expo at ExCel, London.

The CX (Customer Experience) professionals at have always shared the lessons they have learnt from testing their eCommerce platform openly, demonstrating the changes to their website.

From testing to design, they use tools and methods to refine their offering such as:

  • Prototyping 
    Simple demos to trial new user interfaces and interactions
  • Eye-tracking 
    Studying what catches their eye and what is read
  • Ethnographic research
    Observing customer’s day-to-day activities

The reason why Wal-Mart’s investment in this sort of expertise could pay off is that focusing on customer retention and building loyalty is the key to running a successful eCommerce business. 

Improving the UX of your eCommerce website

If you are already running or planning to set up an eCommerce platform, start by understanding, testing and refining the customer journey through your site. 

Here are a few simple ways to get feedback on your website:

  • Usability testing videos
    We offer one free usability video to get you started
  • Surveys
    Hotjar is a great platform to use
  • Social media comments and Trustpilot reviews.

This type of research will allow you to get more authentic responses on where you could be making improvements. The more you understand your customers, the better you can refine their experience.