After disrupting the mobile market through Reliance Jio, could Reliance Industries Ltd be about to do the same for e-commerce?
Reports from India indicate that Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail arm – Reliance Retail Ltd – is testing a food and grocery app among its employees in the run-up to the commercial launch of its e-commerce venture.
The plan is for the grocery app to be made available to the public by the end of the year. Orders made on the app would be fulfilled by local merchants.
This new e-commerce venture is a significant move. India’s retail market is dominated by food and groceries but online sales tend to focus mainly on the country’s bigger cities. There’s also room for growth. Online retail in India may be worth $18 billion, according to some accounts, but it still makes up as little as 3% of the total retail market.
Reliance Industries has already disrupted telecoms through Reliance Jio and the 4G pricing competition it brought with it. This entry into an Indian e-commerce market dominated by US giants Amazon and (Walmart—owned) Flipkart could be an interesting one, especially if it leverages Jio’s reach.
Reliance Retail is certainly a major player in this sector. It operates neighbourhood stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, and wholesale, speciality and online stores. It also sells food and grocery products through its website Reliance SMART.