JioMart leverages WhatsApp for delivery
JioMart, the e-commerce platform of Reliance Industries (RIL), has gone live just days after Facebook invested $5.7 billion in the digital services arm of the oil-to-telecom giant.
The service, being offered in select areas of Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan in Maharashtra, comes at a time the state has reported the most number of coronavirus cases in the country even as reports indicate that the lockdown may be extended beyond May 3.
The portal is offering more than 50,000 grocery products, free home delivery and no minimum order value. The delivery also comes with “no questions asked return policy”.
Further, the service figures the use of WhatsApp to connect customers to grocery stores nearby.
According to a Credit Suisse report, the customer initiates the interaction on WhatsApp, checks out the order on the JioMart webpage, gets connected with a retail store on WhatsApp and then picks up the order from the local store while paying in cash.
Analysts at IIFL Securities, who tested the process, said while the consumer does not have to download any separate app for placing the order, they found the ordering experience easy and that over the coming months, several changes are likely to take place in the JioMart model.
“The SKUs offered at present seem limited to standard brands of grocery and F&B items although some local brands are also on the list. In our view, the SKU list could see significant expansion once the lockdown ends. If one has the purchase list firmed up, the actual ordering is a smooth and fast experience,” they said in a note.
According to the analysts at Credit Suisse, the deal will benefit Facebook via “partnership with the largest retail player in India, where partnership starts with grocery, and later could be extended to medicine distribution, fashion and lifestyle stores, food delivery etc”.
Also, Reliance Jio, with its 388 million telecom users, could provide telecom infrastructure for various Facebook solutions, it said.
For RIL, the large user base of WhatsApp (400 million) could significantly accelerate the adoption of the JioMart app besides it would leverage Facebook's experience to monetize data through advertising.
“The key advantage is not only the large base of WhatsApp users in India but the amount of time spent on the app per day by an average user. “This would catapult Jio into the attention of the large user base, thereby addressing the first key barrier of awareness post-launch of its New Commerce offering,” Credit Suisse said adding this was based on assumption that at some stage, JioMart could be a mini-app within WhatsApp.