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Reliance Retail to embed JioMart into WhatsApp

The move is aimed to boost the reach of JioMart, which in turn is being predicted to give stiff competition to online retail platforms like Flipkart and Amazon

India’s retail market is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025 and Reliance, the country’s biggest offline retailer wants to get a lion share of the market. Representative photo: iStock

Around 400 million Indians can soon order supplies on WhatsApp with Reliance Retail planning to embed JioMart, its e-commerce arm into the messaging service within six months, Mint reported.

The report claims that the move will enable JioMart to get a wider reach across the country, giving stiff competition to online retail marketing platforms like Flipkart and Amazon.

India’s retail market is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025 and Reliance, the country’s biggest offline retailer wants to get a lion share of the market.

Jayanth Kolla, founder and partner at Convergence Catalyst told Mint that the deal is basically a marriage of strengths of both the companies.

“The JioMart integration is essentially adding a retail layer for WhatsApp chats. With payments now available on WhatsApp, it makes all the more sense. Now your chats, retail and payments will all be integrated within the same interface,” he says.

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Reliance Retail has inked a deal with WhatsApp to widen the reach of its retail arm JioMart which was launched in May last year across 200 cities. A month before, Facebook Inc, which also owns WhatsApp had bought 9.9 per cent stake in Jio Platforms for $5.7 billion.

A spokesperson of WhatsApp told Mint that the chief aim of the tie-up with Reliance is to introduce millions of small businesses and their customers to digital economy. “This will make it easier for business to connect with customers and close sales.”

The conglomerate has also tied up with local kirana shops for the JioMart venture. So, when a customer places an order on the JioMart app, either the kirana shop’s delivery person or another from Reliance’s logistics arm Grab, delivers the product. While the kirana shop gets a commission out of the deal, Reliance also helps it with procurement of items, financing, inventory management and tax return filing services among others.

The same system will now be see on the WhatsApp platform.

“Essentially, the idea is to keep users within WhatsApp, and the APIs (application programming interface) allow that. APIs for any catalogue-based service will be built in such a way that as soon as new inventory comes in, it will keep feeding two-directional data to both Jio systems and what is front-ended on WhatsApp,” Mint quoted Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and founder, Greyhound Research as saying.

According to the report, the WhatsApp Business app has its own inventory management feature. Here businesses display their products through a catalogue, which in turn displays the business profile.

Under WhatsApp’s recently added shopping button, customers can directly see a particular business’s catalogue directly from their chat screen.

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“As a WhatsApp integrated e-commerce start-up, we have seen merchants finding value in managing, running and marketing businesses over the messaging platform,” Sonakshi Nathani, co-founder and CEO, Bikayi told Mint.

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