The roll-out of online shopping experience by WhatsApp, along with Reliance’s Jio Platforms, will give a shot in the arm to these firms and help them take on other e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart.
“WhatsApp is the primary messaging app for most Indians and the partnership shows the level of access JioMart would have to reach out to them,” said Rohan Agarwal, partner at consultation firm Redseer. “Also, this would help take e-commerce to the next wave of users who might not be using online retail platforms.”
In a global first, JioMart on WhatsApp will enable users in India, including those who have never shopped online before, to seamlessly browse through JioMart’s entire grocery catalogue. They can add items to the cart, and make the payment without leaving WhatsApp chat.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Meta, said the partnership with JioMart would enable people to buy groceries from JioMart in a chat.
Agarwal said most of the business for online grocery comes from the top cities and this partnership will be an opportunity to tap small cities and towns.
Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight, said that the partnership is going to have a huge impact on the e-commerce industry.
“Reliance is the largest retailer in the country and with deep pockets. It wants to (tap) not just the big cities but small cities and towns as well,” said Dutta. “Given the fact that WhatApp is something consumers are comfortable with, and grocery is related to high-frequency purchases, they are firing on all cylinders.”
However, Dutta said the key for both companies to be successful is to build a fulfillment process which is smooth, quick and cost-effective. “That is a bridge which still has to be crossed,” said Dutta.
Experts said the strategic partnership between Meta and Jio Platforms would also help the companies tap new e-commerce models. Rajat Wahi, consulting partner at Deloitte India, said the partnership may help WhatsApp grow the user base of WhatsApp Pay.
“It would create an integrated network where you can shop, pay, and get messages. It is a part of the fight to become the biggest network globally, which has a huge consumer base accessing different services,” Wahi said.
He added that there were a number of benefits, both financially and for strengthening the brand value. “It’s also about making it easier for consumers to shop in one channel,” he said.