After telecom, the Reliance Jio juggernaut might soon reach retail. The Mukesh Ambani-owned firm is planning to roll out JioMoney payment options for customers at neighborhood retail stores, according to reports. Jio is in talks with the country’s leading FMCG companies for partnerships, wherein it’ll print coupon codes on their brands’ products and then send those codes digitally to its mobile subscribers, who can use them at the kirana store during their purchase. While the exact model is yet to be finalized, Reliance is pushing adoption of its JioMoney wallet at physical retail points.
A pilot project involving several stores and leading consumers brands is presently underway in Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad, the report adds. Jio is expected to step up its offline retail integration and roll it out widely by next year. The opportunity is huge in offline grocery and department stores which account for 80-90 percent of the overall retail transactions in India. Jio, which already has a base of over 130 million subscribers, would need to add a layer to the consumer’s transaction process. Several customers are already paying through Paytm and PhonePe — homegrown mobile wallets which have consciously expanded their offline presence since demonetization a year ago. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio planning to launch broadband network, TV service early next year: Report
Stores roped in by Jio would be equipped with software on phones or tablets that can read the digital coupons on products. It will also allow those stores to send promotional offers to their customers. At present, it has over 130 million subscribers. If even a fraction of them start using JioMoney for offline retail payments, it would be a substantial revenue stream for Jio. “In total, 15-20 brands have been enrolled for the pilot project… There will be seamless connectivity between manufacturers and retailers, allowing for better and timely offers for scaling up product sale,” an official reportedly said. ALSO READ: Paytm recorded 65% offline transactions during festive season: Report
Reliance Jio’s move towards retail was almost imminent. Given the state of the telecom industry, which Jio has disrupted successfully in the last one year, expansion into other industries was natural progression. Jio has been compelled by the telecom regulator to stabilize its prices such that rival telcos can breathe. As a result, the bitter price war will soon be over. ARPUs are rising, and Jio’s singular edge over other operators might cease to exist. Digital payments, on the other hand, is a booming space, with transactions growing by the millions every month. Hordes of new consumers are being added consistently. And the government’s push for a digital economy is slated to continue. Jio is headed where everyone should be.