The platform has signed up with local retailers in few cities in Maharashtra.
In just a week after Reliance Jio and Facebook confirmed their minority stake partnership, the first signs of their business are making its presence felt in the country. Jio's e-retail entity JioMart has opened its service via WhatsApp, through which consumers in select parts of Maharastra can order grocery items without having to step out during the lockdown period. However, consumers are expected to pick up the items from the stores they are ordering.
This is a dedicated WhatsApp service, available for people in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan for now. For those interested to sign up with JioMart, they will have to save the mobile number 88500 08000 as JioMart on their phone. Once you've done that, send a message to the contact, and you will get an automated reply asking you to head over to another website, and place the order, depending on the availability of the items with the respective JioMart Kirana store.
Interestingly, this service from JioMart is essentially helping nearby local stores with taking orders, but eventually, the consumer is expected to come and take deliveries for the items themselves. For this, the JioMart WhatsApp service will take your mobile number and address, let you choose from the items available at that particular store, and show you the full payment details.
After that, JioMart will share these details with the store, who will then accept the order, and keep the customer updated about their order status. And once their order is ready to be taken, JioMart will share the location details of the store, asking the customer to head over, make the payment and pick the items they had listed through WhatsApp.
This model is likely to appeal to millions of retailers across the country, especially when they don't have to set up a different online profile to do business. WhatsApp in India is claimed to have over 400 million users, and the messaging app is also available on JioPhone. All this makes the JioMart WhatsApp service a viable model for offline sellers.
Jio's closest rival in the space, Amazon is also looking replicate a similar retail model in the country with its Local Shops program. But unlike Jio, Amazon will have to go through the basic sign up process, something that its competition has already been doing for months. As far as JioMart is concerned, we expect the retail giant to add a slew of categories, and expand its availability to more cities before the end of this year.
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