Writankar Mukherjee & Sagar Malviya, Economic Times
Kolkata / Mumbai, March 28, 2022
The war for instant grocery delivery is going to intensify with Reliance Retail entering the segment with its JioMart platform. The company will start the trial in next 2-4 days in Navi Mumbai for ‘JioMart Express’ which will sell and deliver around 2,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) in a few hours, two senior industry executives aware of the plans said.
Reliance has plans to take instant grocery sales to over 200 cities and towns where JioMart is currently operational by end of next quarter and double the reach in next few months to make it India’s largest instant grocer. The company will also tap its network of kirana stores for such fulfillment, apart from its own chain of grocery stores, the executives said. It is testing a separate app for express grocery deliveries as well as integrating it into the JioMart platform.
The plans of India’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer to enter quick commerce is to further grow its e-grocery business and Reliance will compete against Tata-owned Big Basket which will launch it in April, Zomato-funded Blinkit, Swiggy’s Instamart, Walmart-owned Flipkart Quick and Zepto. Earlier this year, Reliance had led a $240 million funding round in quick commerce hyperlocal firm Dunzo owning the largest 26% stake.
“JioMart Express will utilize Dunzo in the markets where it is strong like the metros as well as its own delivery fleet. JioMart Express can be quickly scaled up since Reliance has onboarded lakhs of kiranas under its B2B programme ‘JioMart Partner’ who buys the merchandise from Reliance and sells through the JioMart platform,” an executive said.
An email sent to Reliance Retail remained unanswered till Sunday press time.
Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of consulting firm Third Eyesight, said Reliance needs to ensure that it is in the right catchment which has a high concentration of demand, low competition and keep supply centres close to it to make instant grocery service profitable. “Margin contribution is low in grocery and hence apart from these there could be a higher focus on high margin products in the assortment,” he said.
To be sure, quick commerce is not new for Reliance Retail. It has been delivering orders in less than three hours placed through Reliance Digital online or app for smaller consumer electronics such as mobile phones and laptops. “However, order volumes are going to be much more frequent in grocery, and hence it would need a robust backend and delivery fleet,” an executive said.
While the pilot in Navi Mumbai will start with 1-3 hours delivery time, Reliance will progressively reduce the delivery time to match the industry standard of 45 minutes to an hour and will also expand the range. According to researcher RedSeer, India’s quick commerce market is all set to grow 15 times by 2025 reaching a market size of close to $5.5 billion. Online shoppers in the metros have been using quick commerce for their unplanned and top-up purchases.
(Published in Economic Times)