Reliance Industries Ltd. has begun testing its online shopping portal three days after Facebook Inc. announced that it will invest $5.7 billion in digital assets controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
JioMart, an e-commerce susidiary of Reliance Retail, went active in three neighborhoods surrounding Mumbai, leveraging WhatsApp’s 400 million users in India currently under the world’s most expansive lockdown.
The beginning of the portal takes Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man a little more closer to his aim of setting up a digital platform to compete with Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart Online Services Pvt. that KPMG projected to grow to $200 billion by 2027. Facebook belives that a partnership with JioMart will help make WhatsApp the primary way small businesses connect with customers.
“The roll out is happening during the toughest of times considering the supply chain constraints,” said Vikraman P.N., founder of Finnoviti Consulting Pvt. “But Reliance will spread the pilot run in various states following its deal with Facebook. And WhatsApp will play a critical role in JioMart’s expansion.”
For availing this service, Customers are needed to add JioMart’s WhatsApp number 8850008000 on their phones. JioMart offers a link to place the order. Once the order is placed, it is given with a grocery store on WhatsApp. The customer is then notified with the order and the store details on his number, according to JioMartLite’s website.
In a video statement on April 22, Ambani announced that the tie-up with WhatsApp will assist almost 30 million Indian mom-and-pop store owners to adopt to digital payments from customers in their neighborhoods.
“This means all of you can order and get faster delivery of day-to-day items from nearby local shops,” he said.