New option to shop from JioMart using WhatsApp challenges Amazon-Flipkart dominance on online shopping industry

New Option To Shop From Reliance’s JioMart Via WhatsApp Challenges Amazon-Flipkart Dominance

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Tuesday, November 30, 2021 04:06 PM IST
New Option To Shop From Reliance’s JioMart Via WhatsApp Challenges Amazon-Flipkart DominanceNew option to shop from Reliance’s JioMart via WhatsApp
  • Groceries can now be ordered from JioMart through Whatsapp by using a new "touch and chat" feature.

    As per JioMart users who received WhatsApp shopping invites, delivery is free and there is no minimum order value.

People in India can now order groceries from Mukesh Ambani's JioMart over WhatsApp using a new "touch and chat" feature, as Reliance Industries Ltd. takes on Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.

According to JioMart users who received WhatsApp shopping invites with a 90-second training and catalogue, delivery is free and there is no minimum order value.

Fruits, vegetables, cereal, toothpaste, and cooking staples like paneer cottage cheese and chickpea flour are among the daily necessities available. Customers can add items to their shopping carts within the app and pay via JioMart or cash when their order arrives.

As reported, Reliance Industries Ltd., which crushed competitors in India's telecommunications business by selling affordable data plans and free phone calls, is using a similar strategy in the country's increasingly competitive e-commerce space—cutthroat pricing.

Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook Inc., invested approximately $6 billion in Reliance's Jio Platforms unit 19 months ago. To reach users, the service uses Jio, India's largest mobile provider, and relies on Reliance Retail, India's largest brick-and-mortar shop chain, for delivery. In the country, WhatsApp has around 530 million users, while Jio has over 425 million members.

According to Boston Consulting Group, food and grocery account for more than half of all retail spending in India that is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025. However, according to Kearney Research, India's retail business—an industry that has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries due to the entry of several new players—would develop at a slower rate of 9 per cent between 2019 and 2030, from $779 billion in 2019 to $1,407 billion by 2026 and more than $1.8 trillion by 2030.

With the debut of a no-frills $87 smartphone that comes preloaded with the JioMart and WhatsApp apps, produced in conjunction with Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Ambani's business has strengthened its position to capture a larger piece of that market. Jio, like its American partners and investors (Google invested $4.5 billion in the firm last year), has prioritised connecting and enrolling more consumers in its services.

After multiple run-ins with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration, which has blamed WhatsApp for failing to control material effectively, Meta's hallmark messaging platform is repairing its reputation in India with Reliance's support.

The WhatsApp grocery option joins Reliance's JioMart, which debuted in 200 locations this summer, years after foreign competitors had a head start in Indian e-commerce. Groceries are still a small, but increasing, area of online retail, so there's plenty of room for growth, the report noted.

However, a slew of domestic startups, including SoftBank Group Corp.'s Grofers, Google's Dunzo, Naspers' Swiggy, Tata's recently acquired Bigbasket and newer entrants like Zepto, are crowding the grocery delivery arena with promises of discounts and instant deliveries, alongside Amazon and Flipkart.

The grocery is one of India's 20 million mom-and-pop shops [small businesses or micro enterprise], which are emerging as significant partners for Amazon, Ambani's Reliance Industries, and Walmart's Flipkart online division as they compete for a piece of the lucrative $1 trillion Indian retail industry.

Consumers and businesses alike will find WhatsApp as a shopping front to be a familiar access point. Several Indians already use it as a social, professional, and entertainment conduit on a daily basis, and they won't have to download or learn how to use a new app to start shopping.

Additionally, it was also reported that the country's ubiquitous local neighbourhood stores, also known as kiranas, would be enticed to join as well, as the majority of their operators are already on WhatsApp. Jio, Amazon, and Flipkart are all competing to support such businesses with store management software, credit and tax filing services, and supply restocking, as well as harnessing them for local delivery.

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