JioMart sees order flow at four times of pre-lockdown period for kiranas

The Future stores under brands such as Big Bazaar, Central and Brand Factory, which will be acquired by Reliance Retail as part of the deal, will also be available on the Jio platform, it is reliably learnt.
Reliance Industries's (RIL's) new ecommerce venture JioMart, which went live in May, saw an order flow four times that of the pre-lockdown period for partner kiranas, pointing to the potential an online-offline network has for stakeholders, the company said in its FY20 annual report. JioMart is part of Reliance Retail. The latter has a dedicated section in the RIL annual report.

The retail unit is now embarking on a journey to transform traditional retail through its JioMart platform, the company said, getting a robust omnichannel network in place. The statement acquire significance, since Reliance Retail is on the verge of announcing a deal with the Future group, which will give it access to almost 1,700 stores from the Future network.

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While Reliance Retail has individual online channels for fashion, lifestyle and electronics, the JioMart model will see all these converge on one platform, making it convenient and easy for consumers, it said. The Future stores under brands such as Big Bazaar, Central and Brand Factory, which will be acquired by Reliance Retail as part of the deal, will also be available on the Jio platform, it is reliably learnt. Sellers will also have an advantage here, Reliance Retail said, since JioMart can act as a centralised procurement and delivery platform.

Retail analysts have already indicated that JioMart is clocking orders per day in excess of 400,000, ahead of what RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had indicated during the company's annual general meeting last month. At that time, Ambani had said that orders per day were in the region of 250,000 and that the company continued to ramp up the number quickly.

While transaction value on JioMart remains at an average of Rs 500 per order, this number could go up as fashion, lifestyle and electronics converge on the platform. For FY20, Reliance Retail's consumer electronics outlets constituted 73 per cent of its nearly 12,000 stores, while fashion and lifestyle made up 20.2 per cent and grocery constituted 6.8 per cent, the annual report said.

Industry experts say that Reliance Retail is keen to ramp up its presence in grocery using a combination of tactics. This includes using the tie-up with Facebook's Whatsapp to increase the order flow, onboard more kirana partners and have SMART points, which is the neighbourhood store concept under grocery brand Reliance SMART across the country.

The FY20 annual report says that the SMART Point network was set up in less than 45 days from design to conceptualisation to launch, with 18 neighbourhood stores up and running in the Thane, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan areas near Mumbai. This will now be taken to other parts of the country, much the way JioMart was taken to 200 cities after a pilot phase in select markets earlier.

In the annual report, Reliance Retail said that it was aiming to capture a sizeable share of the untapped consumption potential in the country using physical stores, digital platforms and B2B channels. "Our large scale and rapid execution has been the major driver of robust growth in the retail market," the company said.

In a recent report, brokerage Morgan Stanley had said that JioMart was poised to sell half of all online grocery in the next few years, led by significant investment by the company.

Ambani had indicated Reliance Retail and JioMart had received strong interest from global strategic and financial investors and that they would be inducted in the quarters ahead. While speculation was rife earlier that Amazon may invest in the Reliance-Future combine, that may not be the case now, say experts. The stage appears to be set for a stiff battle  between Amazon and Reliance Retail.

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