Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Retail is reportedly planning to use more than 5, 100 Jio point stores located in 5,000 cities and towns as delivery and collection points for its ecommerce venture. With this initiative, the company is looking to expand its direct reach to 95% of India’s population.
According to people close to the development, Reliance Retail, — the conglomerate’s offline retail unit — will now set up ecommerce kiosks at Jio point stores. This will allow potential buyers to place orders online with the help of the store executives. The initiative is expected to begin in April 2019.
This is similar to the government’s eMitra kiosks established in cities of Rajasthan to help the citizens pay their bills digitally.
The Jio point stores were launched in 2017 with an aim to expand the company’s retail services to rural areas including Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns.
The company will also manage the sale of grocery items such as sugar, pulses, soaps and biscuits along with apparel and shoes from the Jio Point stores. These products will be delivered at customer’s doorsteps through the existing Jio distribution network.
Hybrid Retail In India
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) had forayed into the ecommerce segment in July when it announced its plans to operate on the online-offline hybrid model.
This hybrid model is also used by Kishore Biyani’s Future Retail. In 2017, the company had announced the launch of its Retail 3.0 business model called “Tathaastu”, which operated on a combined system of digital and brick and mortar stores.
Biyani, who believes that the online model cannot survive in India without offline support, aims to make the company Asia’s largest integrated consumer retailer by 2047 with a revenue of $1 Tn (INR 71.76 Lakh Cr) using this hybrid model.
The online-offline hybrid model has been increasingly gaining popularity. In September, fashion retailer V-Mart Retail had also announced its plans to adapt the hybrid model with new stores and a warehouse.
A similar kind of model was adapted by telecommunications company Airtel back in 2016 when it went live with its Airtel Payments Bank. The company allowed its users to avail its digital banking services through its retail stores which would act as the Airtel banking points. Under this, the users could open bank accounts or avail some other basic bank services through these retail stores.
[The development was reported by ET]