Indian Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail plans to embed its eCommerce app JioMart into WhatsApp within six months, allowing the 400 million users of India’s most popular messaging service order products without having to leave the app, said sources.
The integration will allow JioMart improve its reach across India, allowing Reliance Retail to pose a serious challenge to Flipkart and Amazon’s domination in India’s fast-growing online retail market. Mr. Ambani is trying to secure a bigger share of India’s retail market, estimated to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025. Reliance is already India’s biggest offline retailer.
JioMart was launched in May 2020 across 200 cities and towns, a month after Reliance Retail signed a pact with WhatsApp to boost the reach of the online shopping website. In April, social media giant Facebook bought a 9.9 percent stake in Reliance Industries’ digital unit Jio Platforms for $5.7 billion.
“It is essentially marrying of strengths for both companies. The JioMart integration is essentially adding a retail layer for WhatsApp chats. With payments now available on WhatsApp, it makes all the more sense. Now your chats, retail and payments will all be integrated within the same interface,” said analysts.
“Through our investment with Jio, we’re going to bring millions of small businesses and the customers they serve into the digital economy. This will make it easier for businesses to connect with customers and close sales,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.
Reliance Retail is also on-boarding local neighborhood stores on its platform. So, when a customer orders using the JioMart app, the app maps the user to a nearby store. The delivery is either done by the shop or by Reliance’s logistics arm Grab, which it acquired in 2019 for $14 million. The store gets a commission on the sales.
Reliance not only helps the small stores procure items but, through its point of sale (PoS) machine, offers them financing, inventory management and tax return filing services, among others.