Reliance starts WhatsApp-based online shopping portal during COVID-19 lockdown

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Reliance Industries Ltd. started testing its online shopping portal three days after Facebook Inc. said it will invest $5.7 billion in digital assets controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Follow latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic here

JioMart, an e-commerce venture of Reliance Retail, went live in three neighborhoods surrounding Mumbai, leveraging a deal that gives it access to WhatsApp’s 400 million users in India currently under the world’s most expansive lockdown.

The starting of the portal takes Asia’s richest man a step closer to his goal of setting up a digital platform to take on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart Online Services Pvt. for a slice of India’s e-commerce market that KPMG says is set to grow to $200 billion by 2027. Facebook hopes a partnership with JioMart will help make WhatsApp the primary way small businesses connect with customers. “The roll out is happening during the toughest of times considering the supply chain constraints,” said Vikraman P.N., founder of Finnoviti Consulting Pvt. “But Reliance will spread the pilot run in various states following its deal with Facebook. And WhatsApp will play a critical role in JioMart’s expansion.”

Customers need to add JioMart’s WhatsApp number 8850008000 on their phones. JioMart provides a link to place the order. Once the order is placed, it is shared with a grocery store on WhatsApp. The customer is notified with the order and the store details on his number, according to JioMartLite’s website.

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