After creating mayhem in India’s telecom sector, is Reliance Jio now preparing to do the same in India’s ecommerce market? As per an ET report, that may be the case as Jio prepares to leverage its vast network and hundreds of millions of subscribers. As per two people aware of the matter, the company is working with corner stores, or ‘kiranas’, and consumer brands to create an operational model that will enable shoppers to buy at neighbourhood shops using digital coupons via its Jio Money platform or text messages.
The sources further added that a pilot project involving several stores and leading brands is underway at Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad and a larger rollout is likely next year. For the pilot, brands like ITC, Wipro, Dabur, Tata Beverages, Godrej Consumer Products and Amul have been apparently roped in, among a total of 15-20 brands.
Jio will initially tie up with consumer brands for its platform while simultaneously connecting with corner stores through the brands’ distribution networks, added the source. Leveraging its mobile user base, it will send digital coupon codes for a particular brand’s product to them, who can then use the coupons at neighbourhood stores to buy those brands. Stores enrolled in the pilot will be equipped with software on their phones or tablets to read these digital coupons.
Additionally, Jio will also allow partner stores to use its platform for stock clearances or to send promotional offers to their customers. These could also include those customers who are not Jio subscribers. Jio also plans to introduce a so-called missed-call facility that will allow it to intimate its shoppers the promotional offers in a specific area
Reliance Jio And India’s Burgeoning Ecommerce Market
The report reiterates what former CFO of Infosys T V Mohandas Pai had spoken about last month. Pai had stated, “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.”
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.