The Indian e-commerce space has been heating up since the beginning of this year. Heralding one of the biggest deal ever, Flipkart got acquired by Walmart. Softbank and Alibaba showered $500 million on Paytm, while Amazon is expressing a strong interest in buying a stake in the Future Group.
Besides, Google is reportedly planning an independent play in the country’s fledgeling e-commerce market worth around $40 billion. Meanwhile, the Reliance Group that has disrupted the Indian telecom segment is all set to launch an app meant for kirana or neighbourhood stores.
The app will enable merchants to integrate with Reliance’s e-commerce platform and power their inventory, logistics, payments, and supply chain requirements, reports FactorDaily. Importantly, merchants can also buy inventory from the Reliance wholesale arm.
The Mukesh Ambani-led group has been piloting the application with about 5,000 merchants across Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The nationwide launch is expected by the end of this year.
Since online commerce in India seems difficult without brick & mortar retail, Reliance has been eyeing to beef up the supply chain and create a perfect omnichannel focused ecosystem. The app will help large FMCG companies to craft promotional campaign (via Jio Money) for particular area or pockets, to clear stocks.
The app will cover various aspects including tax filings (including GST), and inventory management, adds the report.
Currently, Reliance has about 7,500 stores and 50 warehouses and it plans to use them for fulfilling demand created by both channels – offline as well as online.
For the past eight months Reliance has been also running a pilot for its e-commerce biz with ITC, Wipro, Dabur, Tata Beverages, Godrej Consumer Products, and Amul.
RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani, who has invested close to Rs.1.5 trillion in his telecom venture, has previously described Jio as the world’s largest startup. The company’s value of the retail business, essentially food and groceries, accounted for 7.8 per cent of its total revenue of Rs 2.76 trillion in FY16.
How the Indian e-commerce space will take the entry of Reliance, remains to be seen.
Will it end up creating a similar ripple in e-commerce, as it had created in the telecom sector?