Mukesh Ambani’s retail dream has started to take shape with his New Commerce plan finding roots, thanks to Reliance Jio’s multi billion dollar deal with social media platform Facebook. Here's how Whatsapp fits into the mix.
Mukesh Ambani’s retail dream has started to take shape with his New Commerce plan finding roots, thanks to Reliance Jio’s multi billion dollar deal with social media platform Facebook. While it is expected that the deal will help Jio leverage Facebook’s reach in India via its WhatsApp platform, there are many other ways that RIL will benefit via this deal and give stiff competition to the likes of Amazon and Flipkart in the country. “At some stage, JioMart could be a mini-app within WhatsApp (a concept similar to WeChat mini-programs) which would avoid new 400 mn downloads of JioMart and give JioMart immediate access to 400 mn users of WhatsApp for grocery,” Credit Suisse said in a note.
WhatsApp at core
JioMart platform has already gone live in three regions viz Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan, where it has started taking orders from customers for the items of daily needs. WhatsApp is at the core of this launch. Customers get a link to access the application on WhatsApp, which redirects to the JioMart platform. The confirmation status is also received on WhatsApp itself. “Collaboration with WhatsApp enables it to address a large user set spending a considerable amount of screen time on the app. This saves JioMart from separately acquiring customers on its platform, which is a key barrier when a new app or a service is launched,” the report said.
WhatsApp has a user base of over 400 million and the same is of immense importance to Jio as it gets access to target audience. While WhatsApp is key to communicating with customers, it is also useful for retailers, and may help on-board grocers on the platform. WhatsApp already runs business accounts which “enable real-time conversation and updates,” the report said. Further, Reliance will not be going blind-eyed into this, unlike other large service providers such as MakeMyTrip, Nykaa and Lenskart, among others that have already tried the service. The service enables real-time updates on order booking status.
Also, with WhatsApp expected to launch its payments system soon in India, Jio will find additional support in ease and reliability of payment. “This will be a useful feature in case commerce transactions are brought to the chat platform and will offer users a convenient way to close the transaction using the in-app payments service,” the report said. The UPI-based payment service has already secured approval from National Payments Corporation of India in Feb-2020.
Not just groceries, retail at large in focus
It is also likely that the partnership may result in the launch of a full-fledged retail platform instead of just sticking to groceries. RIL’s retail arm already runs Fashion and Lifestyle platform Ajio as well. With Facebook’s technology of mining user data since its core revenues are driven by advertising, Jio can also leverage the same and get more advertising dollars through various apps such as Jio TV, music streaming app JioSaavn, and movie streaming app Jio Cinema.