While today’s ecommerce battles are being fought largely between Flipkart and Amazon, Reliance Retail will likely pose the biggest competitor for top ecommerce players next year as per industry veteran TV Mohan Das Pai. Former CFO of Infosys T V Mohandas Pai added that due to its wider reach and wide scale penetration of its telecom arm Jio, Reliance Retail will be a big challenge to today’s biggies.
Pai told PTI, “In ecommerce, the biggest threat to Amazon and Flipkart will be Reliance Retail because Reliance Jio (Reliance Industries telecom arm) is there all over India; they can easily connect to all the small, small retail stores and supply to them and improve their business dramatically.”
He also added that consolidation would be the name of the game in ecommerce space next year, with small firms shutting shop, leaving fewer players in an environment of intense competition.
Pai’s views were also endorsed by V Balakrishnan, another former CFO of Infosys, who said that telecom companies are in a sweet-spot because they are becoming like utility play but added that “they have to own the data”.
Balakrishnan added, “Data and content become very important because telcos per se will become utilities. I think Reliance is making the right moves to own the data and own the content. That will give them strategic advantage in the market.”
Reliance Retail And Ecommerce
Pai’s comments come on the back of the sprawling presence of the Reliance Brand in India. Reliance Retail already has a huge presence in the country with many brands under its umbrella such as its fresh food and groceries arm Reliance Fresh, its fashion brand Reliance Trends, and its consumer electronics brand Reliance Digital. Reliance Retail revenues for full year FY17 grew by 60.2% year-on-year to $5.21 Bn (INR 33,765 Cr). Further, the company plans to add another 500 outlets across segment in 2017-18. At the end of the year, Reliance Retail operated 3,616 stores across 702 cities with an area of over 13.5 million square feet.