Reliance Jio is making its first big foray into India’s e-commerce segment with a dedicated app to serve Indian kirana or general stores. The Mukesh Ambani-led telecom player has already expanded its mobile wallet and payments platform to these neighborhood stores.
The app is said to be a one-stop shop for offline merchants to get on to Reliance’s e-commerce platform. It will help these merchants manage their inventory, logistics and supply chain requirements and even accept payments and credit money back. The app will also support option to place orders from Reliance’s cash-and-carry or wholesale mega stores. According to FactorDaily, the app is conceived as a bridge between Reliance’s retail business and digital services business.
The report adds that Reliance Jio is piloting the service with 5,000 kirana stores in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. It plans to roll it out across merchants in the country by the end of this year and scale it further next year. The app also features modern technology like tokenization where it will also allow consumer product companies such as Hindustan Unilever and Dabur to generate promotional coupons in collaboration with merchants. This will help them clear stock and target users in a particular catchment area.
The coupons for these tokenized discounts and sale will be available on the Jio Money app and offered as a click-through message on the main application. “The app is a critical part to build the ecosystem around ecommerce. E-commerce in India cannot be successful without the physical retail network,” a source familiar with the plan told FactorDaily.
With its new service, Jio does not want consumers to shop online or on its website but the goal is to enable consumers to use any of Jio’s platform. Reliance Retail is also not vying for a share of Flipkart or Amazon‘s dominance in the online retail segment but rather wants to help organize the traditional segment of retail. With the app, these kirana store merchants stand to benefit from easy GST filing and connection to cash-n-carry business.
Reliance is developing the technology that integrate online and offline commerce in house at its technology center in India and the US. The app, when fully ready, will enable key features including option to file GST by inputting invoices, file claims, manage inventory and order for a pick-and-drop to a customer’s doorstep. While Indian customers are habituated to ordering from a local store and getting their goods delivered to their home, Reliance wants to bring that same experience online via its app.
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Reliance wants to enter e-commerce market by catering to key segments like electronics, apparel, home and furnishing, baby, beauty and personal care, books among others. Reliance Retail will serve as supplier to these kirana stores further bringing it closer to untapped customers.