The pilot run of the proposal is already happening in Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Reliance Jio plans grand e-commerce entry using kirana shops
Atom Ecommerce Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 17:30

Ecommerce space is perhaps the only strategic business unit that the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Group has not ventured into so far. Not for long though; there is now a report in ET Tech of Reliance Jio entering the ecommerce space.

A beginning may be made by enabling the consumers to use digital coupons to buy their daily needs and grocery and other consumer products from their neighbourhood ‘kirana’ shops. The advantage that the company enjoys is its huge subscriber base across India which it would want to leverage to kickstart the project. Reliance Jio plans to rope in some top consumer brands also in this scheme. Already running convenience stores like Reliance Fresh, the parent company will find it easy to associate with these brands who are their vendors.

The pilot run of the proposal is already happening in Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad. The coming new year may see a larger rollout.

The online-to-offline (O2O) space in India might witness a bit of overcrowding in the days to come since many players are entering the scene, some known and some new. The ones that have made their plans clear include Paytm and PhonePe. Giant online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart are also working at a feverish space in including groceries and foods in their category build-up and are strengthening their last-mile delivery mechanisms.

Coming back to the Reliance Jio initiative, the company may not yet have a full-blown plan for the project going ahead. They may keep critically evaluating the process as the pilot project progresses. The corporates they have managed to include in the project are ITC, Wipro, Dabur, Tata Beverages, Godrej Consumer Products and Amul; quite an impressive line-up.

The modus operandi is explained thus: the offers from the brands are sent to the Reliance Jio subscribers on their mobile phones in the form of digital coupons. The corner stores (Mom & Pop Stores) who sign up will also be supplied with the required software to read the digital coupons on their devices and sell the goods as planned. The subscriber will have the option to make payments through Jio Money or any other means, including cash, if it is accepted by the store.

As mentioned, it is an evolving plan and may see other developments in the months ahead.

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