Friday, 03 February 2023

Jio Mart and WhatsApp can compete against Flipkart and Amazon

Jio Mart and WhatsApp can compete against Flipkart and Amazon

Indian citizens can now use WhatsApp to order grocery from Mukesh Ambani's JioMart via a new "tap and chat" option button, as his Reliance Industries Ltd. challenges the domination of Inc. and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart.

As per JioMart users who got WhatsApp shopping invites with a 90-second tutorial and catalog, delivery is free, and there's no minimum value restriction for orders. The daily essential product on offer are fruits, vegetables, chickpea flour, toothpaste, and cooking staples like paneer cottage cheese and cereal. Customers can fill their shopping bags within the app and pay either via JioMart or in cash when receiving their orders.

The move comes after 19 months Meta Platforms Inc., previously known as Facebook Inclusive., invested nearly $6 billion into Reliance's Jio Platform. The service opens into the popularity of India's largest mobile operator, Jio, to reach the end-user and relies on its biggest brick-and-mortar business chain, Reliance Retail, to execute delivery. WhatsApp has about 530 million users, Meta's most significant overseas base, and Jio has more than 425 million subscribers.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, food and groceries are estimated to account for over half of the country's retail spending, which is projected to reach as high as $1.3 trillion by 2025. Ambani's group has increased its position to capture a larger share of that market by introducing an $87 smartphone, which comes preloaded with the WhatsApp and JioMart apps, built in partnership with Alphabet Inc.'s Google. Like its U.S. investors and partners, Google invested $4.5 billion into the company last year -- Jio has prioritized getting more users connected and enrolled to use its services.

Meta's signature messaging service is remaking its brand in India with Reliance's help after several run-ins with the administration of PM Narendra Modi, which has accused WhatsApp of failing to police still adequately.

Jio Mart and WhatsApp can compete against Flipkart and Amazon 1twitter image: @WhatsApp

Read More: WhatsApp UPI payment increase limit to 40 million from 20 million users by NPCI

WhatsApp and Reliance Industries representatives did not respond to requests for comments.

The WhatsApp grocery option stands alongside Reliance's JioMart, which launched last year in 200 cities, years after globe rivals got a head start in Indian e-commerce. There are still many opportunities left untapped as groceries remain a small albeit rapidly growing online retail segment. Besides Amazon and Walmart, a slew of domestic startups such as SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Grofers, Google-backed Dunzo, Naspers-backed Swiggy, the Tata conglomerate's recently acquired Bigbasket, and newer entrants like Zepto are crowding the grocery delivery arena with promises of discounts and instant deliveries.

WhatsApp as a shopping promises to be a familiar entry point for consumers and retailers alike. Hundreds of millions of Indians already use it several times a day as a social, professional, and entertainment conduit. They won't have to download or learn how to navigate a new app to start shopping.

Kirana's, the country's ubiquitous local neighborhood stores, would also be attracted to join as most of their operators are already on WhatsApp. Jio, Amazon, and Flipkart compete to help those outlets with store management tech, tax filing services, and credit and supply replenishment while also hoping to harness them for neighborhood deliveries.

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