JioMart: Bridging gaps in the e-commerce industry
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
We all have been aware of the recent Jio-Facebook deal for quite some time now. If not, here’s a brief guide –
Under this deal, Facebook bought a 9.9% stake in Reliance Jio for $5.7 billion, resulting in the total valuation of Jio to be $ 65.95 billion. This deal nurtures a symbiotic relationship between the two giants where Facebook through Jio is trying to get a firm hold into the Indian market and through this deal, Jio is trying to achieve a debt-free status by March 2021.
But amidst this, we have a third winner as well - the retail venture of Reliance Jio, Jiomart. The Jio-Facebook deal allows Jio to access Whatsapp’s user base of 40 million (Facebook owns Whatsapp) and thus provide an integrated platform for customers to shop. Leveraging this easy to use WhatsApp technology, JioMart has introduced an O2O (Online to offline) model in India.
How does it work?
As a user, you just have to add JioMart's Whatsapp number on your phones and they will send you a link on your chat window, which will be valid for 30 minutes. Through that link, you will be directed to a window where after entering your contact details, you can shop through their catalogue of products. Once ordered, your order will be directed to a local Kirana store through Whatsapp itself. Both the parties will be kept notified about the status of the order and once your order is billed, the customer is required to collect it from the store themselves and pay in person. Currently, the only acceptable form of payment is cash and being in its pilot mode, Jiomart is at the moment only catering to Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan.
This O2O model can very well work in India where Whatsapp has comparatively substituted the SMS service but digital literacy is still low. Adding to it, the O2O model combines the ease of ordering and eliminates the need to wait to collect your orders while retaining the human interaction experience of shopping. The option of collecting orders and paying cash in person eliminates the fear of online transactions which is very prevalent in the Indian economy and saves the delivery and logistic costs.
You would be correct if you point out that the cash payment mechanism and offline order collection will not be preferred by many and Jio might lose customers to likes of Amazon. Worry not, Jio has a plan for that. Jio is working on a Jiomart app which will have a similar working and payment mechanism like those of other e-commerce giants. O2O model is an addition to the regular online service which actually makes their marketing funnels wider. This service by Jiomart for Indian customers is very apt as per Indian demographics and shopping patterns and may record an upsurge once the economy resumes.
Fun Fact: In the past, Tesco opened a virtual grocery store at South Korea subway station where the customers could scan the QR codes printed on the walls which corresponded to certain products and those products would be delivered at their doorstep before they reach home. The information regarding the address and ETA was recorded on the app itself and the money was deducted from the wallet upon delivery.