After entering into a massive US$ 5.7 bn deal with Facebook, Reliance Industries has begun piloting its new commerce venture JioMart on WhatsApp. JioMart has the advantage of its own Jio telecom user base and the massive reach of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp platform to transform the Indian retail landscape, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData estimates the Indian online food and grocery channel to reach Rs 678 bn (US$8.9bn) by 2023, creating a big opportunity for companies.
Hrishabh Kashyap, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Recently, JioMart tested its grocery ordering system through WhatsApp in the suburban areas of Mumbai, India, giving a glimpse of one of the many services Jio and Facebook can offer.”
JioMart allows consumers to access the online store on a browser by clicking on a link shared with them on their WhatsApp account. Consumers can choose from a range of products and JioMart will assign the order to a nearby store.
JioMart connects local offline retailers on a large scale with its merchant point of sale solution enabling smaller retailers to expand digitally, which has turned out to be extremely important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as both consumers and retailers prefer digital transactions due to safety concerns.
Kashyap adds: “The two popular communication platforms will work together to enable their consumers to interact with nearby stores online to place an order, allowing the retailer to retain its customers through digital association.”
JioMart’s plan to bring 30 million offline retailers to Indian consumers’ mobile phones is a potential disruptor in Indian retailing, especially after the recent turn of events around COVID-19.
Kashyap concludes: “The pandemic might just have given the necessary push to the massive physical retailer network in India by forcing the retailers to go digital in order to sustain their businesses and thereby insulating them from the even more rapid shift online.”