Ordering groceries, vegetables and daily essentials is just a WhatsApp away as billionaire Mukesh Ambani's e-commerce platform JioMart taps into the popular messaging app to scale up online business in its fight for dominance in the giant Indian retail market with Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart. Ambani's twin children, Akash and Isha gave a preview of the ordering at Meta's second edition of the Fuel for India event on Wednesday.
A new 'tap and chat' option allows users to order groceries through WhatsApp. Delivery is free and there is no minimum order value. Customer can fill their shopping carts within the app and pay either via JioMart or in cash on delivery. "The JioMart experience through WhatsApp is actually, very simply put - 'conversational' in nature. WhatsApp is extremely simple and easy to use; So there's no customer inhibition when ordering for supplies," said Akash.
It's extremely intuitive - so there are no barriers to technology. "And digital shopping is now just an extension of messaging via WhatsApp to JioMart, it's all taken care of in a couple of steps effortlessly." Isha said all a customer needs to do is just order away on JioMart. "Bread, butter, vegetables, beverages, everything that you need in your household that day or that week... look up a product, set up a subscription for a regular buy if that's what you want, or get personalized recommendations based on your past purchase history, it's all there," she said.
Facebook, now known as Meta, in April last year invested USD 5.7 billion for a 9.99 per cent in Jio Platforms, the digital and telecom arm of Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd. The partnership was aimed at connecting over 400 million WhatsApp users and half a million retailers that Reliance has on its network. And playing a catalyst is cheap data that 425 million subscribers of Reliance Jio get.
The orders are executed using the network of Reliance Retail, the biggest brick-and-mortar store chain. Also, prepaid users of Reliance Jio can recharge using WhatsApp.
"As Jio and Meta teams work closely, we are opening more and more avenues of working together. One such avenue is Jio on WhatsApp, which is simplifying the entire 'prepaid recharge'," Akash said. This, he said, will bring consumers convenience like they've never had before.
"Yes, it makes it very simple for anybody to adopt. For example, for older citizens who at times may find it difficult to head outside, this Jio recharge feature through WhatsApp is so helpful! And payments on WhatsApp adds to that ease!" Isha said. Akash said it is really exciting how the end-to-end experience for Recharge through WhatsApp along with the ability to make payments can potentially make the lives of millions of Jio subscribers much more convenient.
JioMart delivers from fruits and vegetables to cereal, toothpaste and cooking staples like panner and chickpea flour ordered through WhatsApp. Food and groceries account for nearly half of India's retail spending, which is projected to reach as much as USD 1.3 trillion by 2025, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Interconnected to the entire scheme is Jio's low-priced smartphone that it is offering in association with Google. The phone comes preloaded with the JioMart and WhatsApp apps. Last year, Google invested USD 4.5 billion for a 7.73 per cent stake in Jio Platforms Ltd.
"We believe that small businesses are the bedrock of our country's economic backbone. The pandemic really brought home the truth that small merchant shops, retailers, and small businesses urgently needed to convert their physical brick and mortar stores to digital storefronts," Isha said. The partnership with Meta allowed to quickly leverage the strength of the WhatsApp platform that provides access to over 400 million people.
"With an equal number of Jio subscribers it seemed like a natural progression for us to be able to support these businesses not only through a digital connection with their customers online, but also to quickly develop and build very specific digital-commerce solutions," she said. Akash said JioMart currently has over half a million retailers and is growing every day. "We were very clear that the JioMart's unmatched network - both in online and offline retail should be leveraged optimally, given the size of the opportunity." "We continue to be so excited about our partnership with Meta and in collaboration with the WhatsApp team, we intend to build out native features that will not only help users shop seamlessly on WhatsApp but will also help retailers increase stock assortments, improve margins and get them closer to perhaps a larger base of customers, like never before.
"They will be able to get new orders in addition to keeping their relationships with their regular user base intact," he added.
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