INTO INDIA wrote recently about Facebook investing in Jio, the Reliance Industries (RIL) internet and telecoms arm.
Now they have announced a move which could long term shake up the retail space in India.
It seems that forever retail in India has been dominated by “mom and pop” local stores which are known as “kirana stores”. Most retail changes so far have been in competition with these stores.
But kirana stores have a firm grip on the Indian shopping psyche.
So now comes news that RIL has started home delivery of essentials in partnership with local kirana stores in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan. These services are available under JioMart, an e-commerce venture of Reliance Retail, an RIL subsidiary.
This innovation uses WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), which has more than 400 million users in India. If it goes well, the scheme will be extended to other Indian cities.
Bank of America reports that RIL could digitise 5 million stores by 2023. Kirana stores are keen to go digital, driven in a big way by GST compliance.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of RIL, is moving fast to change from a petrochemical giant to a mixed business including strong telecom and retail capacity.