addiction: Mukesh Ambani turns to WhatsApp to break Amazon’s grip on Indian buyers

BENGALURU: Indians can now use WhatsApp to shop billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s JioMart through a new ‘type and chat’ option, as Reliance Industries Ltd challenges the dominance of Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.
Shipping is free and there is no minimum order value, according to JioMart users who received invitations to make WhatsApp purchases with a tutorial and a 90-second catalog. Daily essentials include fruits, vegetables, grains, toothpaste, and staples like paneer cottage cheese and chickpea flour. Customers can fill their carts in the app and pay via JioMart or cash upon receipt of their order.
The move comes 19 months after Meta Platforms Inc, formerly Facebook Inc, invested nearly $ 6 billion in Reliance’s Jio Platforms unit. The service leverages the popularity of India’s largest mobile operator, Jio, to reach users and relies on its largest brick-and-mortar chain, Reliance Retail, to perform delivery. WhatsApp has around 530 million users nationwide – Meta’s largest overseas base – and Jio has over 425 million subscribers.
Food and groceries are estimated to account for more than half of the nation’s retail spending, which is expected to reach $ 1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Ambani’s group has strengthened its position to capture a greater share of this market with the introduction of a no-frills $ 87 smartphone, which comes preloaded with JioMart and WhatsApp, built in partnership with Alphabet’s Google. Inc .. Like its US partners and investors – Google invested $ 4.5 billion in the company last year – Jio has prioritized connecting and signing up more users to use its services.
Meta’s signature messaging service is rebuilding its brand in India with help from Reliance, after several run-ins with the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who accused WhatsApp of not properly controlling content.
Representatives for Reliance Industries and WhatsApp did not respond to requests for comment.
WhatsApp’s grocery option sits alongside Reliance’s JioMart, which launched last summer in 200 cities, years after global competitors took a step ahead in Indian e-commerce. There are still many untapped opportunities as grocery stores remain a small, albeit rapidly growing, segment of online retail. Besides Amazon and Walmart, a slew of national startups such as Grofers backed by SoftBank Group Corp., Dunzo backed by Google, Swiggy backed by Naspers, Bigbasket recently acquired by conglomerate Tata, and new entrants like Zepto are invading the market arena. grocery delivery with instant delivery and rebate promises.
WhatsApp as a storefront promises to be a familiar entry point for consumers and retailers. Hundreds of millions of Indians already use it multiple times a day as a social, business, and entertainment channel and won’t have to download or learn to navigate a new app to start shopping.
Kiranas, the ubiquitous convenience stores nationwide, are said to be drawn to membership as well, as most of their operators are already on WhatsApp. Jio, Amazon, and Flipkart each compete to help these outlets with store management technology, credit and tax reporting services, and supplies replenishment, while also hoping to leverage them for neighborhood deliveries. .
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