Last week US tech giant Facebook entered into a $ 5.7 billion business deal with Reliance Industries and picked up 9.99% stake in it's Jio Platforms. Now JioMart, its e-commerce website, has started its test runs in collaboration with WhatsApp to facilitate grocery shopping.
JioMart is presently available in select areas of Maharashtra namely Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan and is expected to be rolled out all over India in the near future. The company has launched a specific WhatsApp number through which its registered customers can order the items available on its website.
Steps to order on JioMart website:
* JioMart's WhatsApp business contact number is +91 88500 08000.
* Customers have to save this number on their phones.
* Then launch WhatsApp, select the contact and send a 'Hi' message.
* JioMart will respond with a welcome message and a link to order items.
* Opening the link will take customers to the items listed on JioMart.
* Before ordering items, customers have to provide some details such as their name, address, etc.
* The link if unused will expire in 30 minutes. A new link can be generated by sending another 'Hi" message.
Currently, only basic grocery items are available. Orders placed every day by 5 pm are most likely available to be picked up from the nearest JioMart Kirana partner store in the next 48 hours. Customers who have placed orders will receive a message on WhatsApp when the partner stores are ready with the orders. There is no facility for home delivery and online payment as of now. So, customers will have to go to the stores, make payment and pick up their orders.
Two days required to avail groceries
Leveraging WhatsApp for e-commerce sales and not having to install one more e-commerce app definitely makes the process resourceful for the mobile phones. But 48 hours as the likely time period for the orders to get ready is stretching the process too far.
If a customer is in need of something today, it has to be ordered 2-3 days in advance. This can work to an extent during the lockdown period as everyone is at home but can easily become exhaustive and irrelevant as normal life resumes.
No online payment nor delivery option
An online business model without an online payment mode already in place makes little sense. Most e-commerce platforms have online payment enabled and integrating a payment gateway has simplified so much. Why a venture like JioMart doesn't have one is incomprehensible.
Most importantly, customers having to go to the nearest Kirana partner store to pick up the orders during the lockdown is absurd. This at a time when food delivery partner Swiggy has tied up with grocery stores and are delivering orders to customers at their homes.
It could be that once Whatsapp Pay receives its requisite approval from New Delhi, online payments will be readily possible.
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