Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries is going to expand its food and grocery play in JioMart to include fashion, consumer electronics and smartphones by this festive season, whereby it wants this platform to become a full-fledged e-commerce venture competing against Amazon and Flipkart.Two senior industry executives said while Reliance Retail stores are currently fulfilling orders in JioMart, it will eventually have a hybrid model whereby its own retail stores and local neighbourhood shops will be roped in for order fulfilment to ensure the platform has the fastest delivery. And this will be for all categories where it will operate. “E-commerce or new commerce is now the biggest bet for Reliance in retail,” said one of the industry executives aware of the business plans. “If Reliance has to win against Amazon and Flipkart, it needs to have JioMart service across every nook and corner of the country and the fastest delivery which can only be possible in a mix of hyperlocal and inventory model,” he said. As per Reliance plans, it wants to deliver groceries and most of the products including apparel, television or a smartphone within 1-2 hours of the order while for large appliances like refrigerator and washing machine either the same day or at best next day. Reliance is also going to unveil the JioMart app this quarter. At present, consumers can only order through the website.“Pricing competition with Amazon and Flipkart are not a concern since even now the Reliance Retail stores have one of the lowest pricing in the country across products which is possible due to the scale of operation,” the executive said.An email sent to Reliance did not elicit any response.Reliance has already boarded over 2,500 grocery kiranas in Mumbai and wants to take it up to 6,000 for JioMart. Reliance will upgrade these stores as its franchise partner and they will start self-service and source products directly from its store network. The order fulfilment will be done by the kiranas and for products which are not available, the Reliance Retail outlets. “Eventually, there will be lakhs of kiranas across the country on the platform. A kirana can store at best 800-900 stock keeping units (SKUs) and hence the inventory model from Reliance Retail stores too is required to service all orders. The reason Reliance could launch JioMart during the Covid-19 pandemic across 200 cities is due to its store network,” said another executive.JioMart at present is fulfilling anywhere between 50,000-70,000 orders per day. An executive said Reliance will continue its existing e-commerce ventures like curated fashion Ajio.com and online format of the electronics store RelianceDigital. An executive said Ajio business has gone up eight times since the pandemic.
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