Reliance Jio Mart Begins with a Soft Push in Indian E-commerce Market

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has finally challenged Amazon and Flipkart by launching its much awaited e-commerce venture called JioMart. Operated by Reliance Retail, which is the retail branch of RIL, the new venture has been started on pilot basis around Mumbai suburbs including Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Kalyan. Slowly, it will be expanded across entire India. RIL Chairman and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani told this e-commerce venture a “new commerce initiative” last year. The Mumbai-based company is aiming at connecting three crores offline retailers with over 20 crores households in the country by this.

To kick off its e-commerce operations, Reliance Retail has started taking pre-registrations for JioMart. The new venture is touted to offer a portfolio of over 50,000 grocery products along with offerings such as free home delivery against no minimum order value, no questions asked return, and express delivery promise, as highlighted on the official JioMart website that specifies the venture as “Desh Ki Nayi Dukaan” (the country’s new shop). These benefits would help Reliance persuade customers who’re majorly using Amazon and Flipkart for grocery shopping.

According to a report by Mint, Reliance Retail has sent an invite to Jio users to register for JioMart and avail preliminary discounts. The website of the venture shows that early customers would get up to Rs. 3,000 for pre-registration.

Instead of establishing its native warehousing, Reliance is building JioMart on an online-to-offline (O2O) marketplace under which it will source grocery items from nearby merchants, similar to what Amazon Prime Now and Grofers used to do earlier. This means that the new venture will emerge as a platform for offline retailers to cater to online-focussed customers in their locality.

Initially, JioMart is said to host products such as daily staples, soaps, shampoos, and other household items. This would make things difficult for Amazon’s Prime Now that is aimed to offer two-hour deliveries of grocery products.

The JioMart website shows that Reliance is set to bring specific Android and iOS apps in the coming future. The JioMart apps would let users place orders directly from their mobile devices. We’ve reached out to Reliance Retail for clarity on the development and will update this space when we hear back.

Reliance in March agreed to acquire logistics services platform Grab A Grub to augment its e-commerce venture. The company was also spotted dealing with software company C-Square that serves solutions to distributors, retailers, online e-commerce, and sales force automation.

In addition to acquisitions particularly focused on online retail operations, Reliance is enhancing its presence in the worlds of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to develop newer experiences for e-commerce customers.

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