Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries’ offline retail subsidiary Reliance Retail is reportedly looking to foray into B2B e-commerce, offering smartphones, televisions, garments, spices and soap to retailers.
Citing sources, an ET report has said that the company is looking to offer the services to a range of retailers, including those operating in remote villages.
The company which has been bullish on e-commerce since last year has also started trials in Bengaluru for apparel through Ajio Business with a plan to enrol more than 50K vendors.
It plans to expand the test to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana next. The services will also be available in Mumbai from next month initially selling fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and grocery.
As a part of its e-commerce plans, Reliance is also looking to include the services of approximately 12 Mn Kirana outlets.
According to the report, Reliance Retail is aimed at bringing together large distributors and suppliers and the small kiranas to work together in the strategy which the company calls ‘new e-commerce’.
Earlier in July 2018, Reliance Retail had forayed into the e-commerce sector with its plans to sell smartphones and electronic appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and televisions, online.
The strategy is similar to Kishore Biyani-led Future Group’s hybrid e-commerce model codenamed ‘Tathaastu’. Ambani is also looking to strengthen Reliance Retail’s presence in the e-commerce space by implementing the online-offline blended model.
While speaking at the 41st annual general meeting (AGM), last year, Ambani had also said that according to him, Reliance Retail will have a bigger opportunity in the e-commerce market by creating a hybrid online-offline model.
In January, while attending the Vibrant Gujarat summit, Ambani announced that Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio Infocomm will jointly launch a new e-commerce platform.
In December 2018, it was also reported that Reliance Retail is planning to use more than 5, 100 Jio point stores located in 5,000 cities and towns as delivery and collection points for its e-commerce venture in order to expand its direct reach to 95% of India’s population.
Under this plan, Reliance retail will set up e-commerce kiosks at Jio point stores to allow the potential buyers to place orders online with the help of the store executives.
To step up its e-commerce play, Reliance also acquired logistics startup Grab in a cash deal worth $14.9 Mn (INR 106 Cr). The move will help the company strengthen its logistics service for its e-commerce venture.
After having established itself as a prominent industry, Reliance has also been looking to invest in technology startups in India. Most recently, it was reported that Reliance Industries via its subsidiary Reliance Jio Digital Services Limited had entered into a definitive business transfer agreement with chatbot maker Haptik Infotech Pvt Ltd (Haptik) for acquiring 87% stake in the company.―Inc42