JioMart may save small shops from e-commerce storm, help kirana stores turn tables on modern retail

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April 30, 2020 2:43 PM

Mukesh Ambani’s JioMart is expected to script a new history for India’s kirana stores, which have been facing the onslaught of modern trade and e-commerce for some time now.

Lockdown, , small shops, medium retailers, kirana storesAs RIL’s pet project aims to bring mom and pop stores to the fore again, the Reliance Jio-Facebook-Whatsapp trio may actually help kirana stores tremendously.

Mukesh Ambani’s JioMart is expected to script a new history for India’s kirana stores, which have been facing the onslaught of modern trade and e-commerce for some time now. As RIL’s pet project aims to bring mom and pop stores to the fore again, the Reliance Jio-Facebook-Whatsapp trio may actually help kirana stores tremendously, Prasun Basu, South Asia Zone President, and Nitya Bhalla, Data Science LeaderSouth Asia, Nielsen, told Financial Express Online. “Kirana stores will now perhaps be better able to match their modern trade and e-commerce counterparts. The JioMart initiative will also help mitigate some erosion from modern trade,” Prasun Basu said.

It is likely to have a positive effect on the supply chain and retailers and suppliers will both better understand what works in the retail space. A lot of this, however, also depends on the consumer demand, he added. Consumer demand has been slackening off — due to slowdown in pre-lockdown times and now because of the lockdown as manufacturing is down.

“This initiative could change a lot but retailer behaviour is also changing. However, JioMart is definitely something to watch out for,” Nitya Bhalla said upon being asked what kind of impact JioMart’s launch will have on kirana stores. Further, kirana e-commerce is also an area where everybody would need to reinvent themselves, she added.

JioMart is a part of Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail expansion plan as the company looks to establish a firm footing in e-commerce where Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are among few dominant players. With JioMart, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani looks to onboard India’s small traders and grocers and connect them to local shoppers. The company also recently tied up with US-based social media platform Facebook to leverage its presence and technology in India with apps such as Whatsapp. Whatsapp alone has a user base of 400 million which will be crucial to RIL’s plan to acquire a target audience. 

In fact, Whatsapp is at the core of enabling JioMart operations. For now, customers can access JioMart app only via a Whatsapp link. Even the order confirmation is received on the Facebook-owned platform. Whatsapp also looks to bring UPI-based payment platform soon which will help close the payment loop too.

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