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With RIL's New E-Commerce Platform, Network of Mom-n-Pop Shops to Take on Likes of Walmart

India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow to double its value to USD 250 billion by 2020. RIL’s big-ticket announcement is the conglomerate’s new plan to grab a share of the surge.

Ashutosh Tripathi | AshutoshT13

Updated:July 5, 2018, 1:42 PM IST
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With RIL's New E-Commerce Platform, Network of Mom-n-Pop Shops to Take on Likes of Walmart
RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani addresses shareholders at the company’s 41st AGM on July 5, 2018.
New Delhi: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in its 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday announced the launch of a new hybrid commerce platform that aims to bring small retail players on to the online platform.

“As Reliance transitions to become a technology platform company, we see our biggest growth opportunity in creating a hybrid, online-to-offline new commerce platform,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL.

India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow to double its value to USD 250 billion by 2020. RIL’s big-ticket announcement is the conglomerate’s new plan to grab a share of the surge. However, the intended approach of empowering small-scale merchants is unlikely of large companies.

“We see merchants and small shop owners as critical customer interaction and fulfillment points, who will share a mutually beneficial win-win relationship with us. Through the deployment of merchant point of sale for small shop owners, we will enable them to do everything that large enterprises and large e-commerce players are able to do.

The billionaire further elaborated that the merchants will be able to manage inventory, keep digital records and file returns, improve working capital management, retain and upgrade customers, access new customers, run promotion and loyalty programs and link to Reliance’s supply chain.

The conglomerate aims to integrate the physical and digital marketplaces in a collaborative Bharat-India Jodo enterprise. The platform aims to bring together the 35 crore footfalls at Reliance retail stores, the 21.5 crore and growing Jio connectivity customers and the targeted 5 crore JioGiga Homes.

“Our digital tools will predict and anticipate the needs of shoppers. The principal purpose of our hybrid new commerce platform is to promote shared prosperity,” added Ambani.

Recently, the Flipkart-Walmart deal drew flak for possible exploitation of small-scale merchants. Jawahar Lal Nehru (JNU) University professor Patnaik said, “This (the deal) will take India back to the pre-colonial era. Consumers are not a distinct identity from local producers who will be displaced by cheaper imports. With the control of the Indian market by two multi-national retail giants, we will see two distinct processes of de-industrialisation; one of local traders and the other of local producers.”

“Our new commerce platform will redefine retail in India by enabling all customers ─ rich or poor, whether at home or on mobile ─ to transition from simple shopping to personalised immersive shopping experience. This will be made possible by augmented reality, holographic technology and VR devices,” said Ambani.

(Disclaimer: News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited)​

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