Reliance Industries, the over $150Bn+ valued Indian business behemoth that is behind the launch of world’s largest telecom by subscriber base ‘Jio’, is now getting itself firmly into the ecommerce segment. And the company is venturing into the domain by starting to sell groceries first, with ‘Jiomart‘.
Reliance already operates one of the largest offline grocery retail chains in the country through Reliance Fresh. With Jiomart, it is essentially combining the massive distribution network of Reliance Fresh with the even bigger consumer base of its telecom-to-everything arm Jio.
According to people privy to the matter, the new venture will be an aggregator where it will partner local grocers and equip them with points of sale (PoS) terminals, low interest working capital, inventory management skills, and GST compliance.
The Jiomart launch follows from a January 2019 announcement by conglomerate chairman Mukesh Ambani. He had mentioned that group companies Reliance Retail and Jio would jointly launch a new ecommerce platform in the country.
The platform, which has been launched via an app-only model for now, is currently servicing the outskirts of India’s financial capital Mumbai, in suburbs such as Thane, Kalyan and Navi Mumbai. The site offers free home delivery, pre-registration discounts and options to buy more than 50,000 grocery products online. The strategy appears to have been borrowed straight from the Jio launch, wherein the company offered almost the entire suite of telecom services for free.
India already has a competitive online grocery space. There exist upstarts such as BigBasket among others, who are fueled by investor money. Bigbasket has already created a rather strong and potent distribution model for itself, but will be surely wary of Reliance’s entry into the domain.