Reliance is all set to venture into the e-commerce segment with the launch of Jio Mart. As per initial details, the company is rolling out an offline-to-online commerce platform that will provide retail packaged consumer goods (PCG) and kitchen supplies to the customer in select locations across Mumbai.
Powered by kirana stores, that have signed up onto Jio using its internet-enabled point-of-sale (PoS) and inventory management device, the mart will offer a selection of over 50,000 grocery products, no-charge deliveries, low prices, and easy returns.
A dedicated mobile application for Jio Mart is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, which will also be integrated with My Jio and Jio Money applications, a source said. On Monday, Jio subscribers in Mumbai received offers to sign up early in return for savings worth Rs 3,000 on initial orders. The sign-up page is live on jio.com/jiomart.
The soft launch confirms year-long speculation around the company's e-commerce play, which is said to be a critical part of the conglomerate’s strategy of “communication, content, and commerce”.
After launching Jio in 2016, Reliance has expanded to a multitude of digital services including digital streaming, music, home broadband, and TV. A subscriber base of 360 million offers it a long reach to launch and scale any internet service.
Jio has been on-boarding Kirana stores across the country over a year now with its PoS solution, which was unveiled at the Vibrant Gujarat summit in January. At the event, Ambani for the first time publicly said that Reliance was working on new e-commerce in conjuncture with Jio and Reliance Retail. “About 10,000 merchants have signed up in Navi Mumbai alone,” said the source.
Kiranas from across the country have joined the platform, however, the initial launch is happening in Mumbai given all systems are in place here, the person added. Kiranas will put up their inventory online, place orders for new stocks, send offers to customers and manage online sales through the platform.
“For Reliance to successfully capture a part of the fragmented Kirana market, in our view it could provide more value to merchants through cheaper pricing and by making MDR zero. However, RIL will need to overcome the mental barrier of merchants for sharing accurate inventory and educate the merchants about the same,” the official said.
While Jio Mart will be a full-fledged venture, RIL has been operating in the e-commerce space with AJIO.com, a fashion site launched in 2016 and an online store-front of electronic chains Reliance Digital.
Analysts have cited the disruption caused by Jio in the telecom industry to argue that a repeat of such a scenario was likely in e-commerce too. On the mobile front, RIL has already spent $40 billion building a 5G ready telecom service.