Bengaluru, NFAPost: Reliance Retail Ltd has recently signed a deal with WhatsApp to integrate its e-commerce app JioMart into the popular social-media platform. This will enable Mukesh Ambani owned e-commerce store to expand its reach across the 400 million WhatsApp user base in India.
JioMart is expected to accomplish this feat within the next six months, which will allow WhatsApp users to shop within the confines of the social media app. Amazon India and Flipkart are likely to see a stiff competition from JioMart as Ambani plans to wrest the former’s unwavering control over India’s online market share in the coming months.
The country’s retail market is estimated to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025. Consequently, we could see bigger and better deals from the ecommerce giants as the fight for supremacy gets tougher with JioMart making its consolidation across more than 200 cities and towns in the subcontinent.
Furthermore, Reliance Jio’s recent tie up with Facebook has infused massive funds to the tune of $5.7bn into Jio platforms. The latter just bought a 9.9% stake in RIL’s digital unit for establishing a mutually beneficial partnership in India’s rapidly rising online retail sector.
“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 Jayanth Kolla, founder and partner, Convergence Catalyst, a research firm.
“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 explained on anonymity.
With JioMart recently linking up with local Kirana stores, the app users can now get their orders mapped and delivered through the nearest outlet in their locality. Users may opt for either a direct delivery or via RIL’s logistics services called Grab which was acquired by the telecom giant in 2019 for $14 million.
These Kirana stores stand to earn a commission over point of sale while also receiving a healthy influx of funding from RIL for inventory management and other financial needs.
“Essentially, the idea is to keep users within WhatsApp, and the APIs (application programming interface) allow that. APIs for any catalogue-based service will be built in such a way that as soon as new inventory comes in, it will keep feeding two-directional data to both Jio systems and what is front-ended on WhatsApp,” added Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and founder, Greyhound Research.
WhatsApp Business app is expected to get completely overhauled following the JioMart integration as the inventory catalogue is likely to be updated to accommodate the influx of retail items coming in from the Kirana stores. The new Shopping button on the app enables customers to transact online by using the interface built right into their chat screens.
This move is expected to replace all existing third-party apps like Bikayi and Dukaan for making online retail purchases at the simple flip of a button.
“As a WhatsApp integrated e-commerce startup, we have seen merchants find value in managing, running and marketing businesses over the messaging platform,” said Sonakshi Nathani, co-founder and CEO, Bikayi.
To ensure smooth operation of JioMart transactions, WhatsApp Payment service was recently launched in partnership with several private and public sector banks like SBI, ICICI and HDFC. The proposal to go live has already been approved and we just have to wait until RIL formally launches its new online retail service on WhatsApp.