The lockdown implemented by the government of India has helped to curb the Coronvirus pandemic, but it has also broken the whole offline market. With the lockdown implemented at every nook and cranny of the country, retailers are not able to sell their products to the consumers.
This is primarily because all the brick and mortar stores rely on the experience. Whether be it an essential item or luxury product, users need to go to the nearest stores to get the product. However, with the rise of online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, customers are getting the desired product, but only a handful of retailers are able to sell the products through the online channels.
So, in order to make things easier for them, two big companies have come forward to help the retailers in this crucial. Yes, we are talking about Reliance Jio, which recently introduced its JioMart service. The service helps the stores near to the customers to do business. Then there is Amazon. The e-commerce giant has also introduced a new programme that will help thousands of small shops to sell the products through the company’s platform. So, which one is doing better? Let’s take a closer look.
What Reliance Jio is doing to help offline stores?
Reliance Jio has recently introduced its new service known as Reliance JioMart in partnership with Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp. The platform makes it easier for small merchants to do business without setting up a separate online site or platform. The platform allows customers to order products from the nearby local stores. However, the customers still need to go and collect the items they have ordered through the platform.
The whole process is quite simple. The service will ask for the customers with the mobile number and address and help them select the nearby store. The platform allows customers to select the items they want to purchase and show all the payment details. The platform then shares the details with the stores, which prepare the order and keep the customer posted about the updates. Once the order is ready, JioMart will share location details of the store and ask the customer to go and collect the products. Currently, the project is available in select areas of Maharashtra including Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan. But, the platform is said to be able available in more cities in the near future.
What Amazon is doing to help offline stores?
Coming to Amazon, the e-commerce platform have announced its Local Shops programme through which it is helping small shops to be a part of its e-commerce platform. The brand has revealed that it has been pilot testing the programme over the past six months and it has signed up over 5,000 retailers during the time. The programme is said to help the offline retailers to reach the customers without worrying about the social distancing standards. The programme will help customers to discover products from local shops in their area. The brand has claimed that the programme has helped the platform to make the essential products available during the lockdown period.
The programme will customers to select from a range of selection and they will be ensured faster deliveries, while the local shops will be digitised in this process. Furthermore, small shops can also sign up for existing programmes to earn additional income. The programmes include ‘I Have Space’ to act as delivery and pickup points, and ‘Amazon Easy’ to offer expanded selection to their walk-in customers.
So, which is one is pushing more for the offline market?
Clearly, Amazon has a wider reach as it has taken this programme across 100 cities in the country, while JioMart is restricted to certain areas in Maharashtra. The model will help the small shops to do business across their respective city which is otherwise not possible with the offline store. The programme will also encourage them to digitise their shops so that they expand their business.
However, the JioMart model is much more simple and it will help to connect customers with their nearby stores easier as compared to Amazon. The platform basically brings the best of both worlds. Customers can easily select the preferred items from the list and get it the instant they order it. The retailers will be able to directly get in touch the customers around them, which will help them to grow their business. Furthermore, there will also safe some time and cost to invest in a delivery system with third-party courier providers.