Reliance's e-commerce venture is looking to replicate Alibaba's success in India

  • Mukesh Ambani’s e-commerce venture is heading for an October launch with an O2O model.
  • This model is similar to Alibaba’s approach in China, which resulted in huge success.
  • Reliance Retail and Alibaba were also in talks for a deal for the former’s latest e-commerce venture.
Mukesh Ambani’s much awaited e-commerce venture is all set to go live during the auspicious Diwali festival. According to reports, Reliance will be taking the offline-to-online (O2O) business model to bring kirana shops on board, to deliver groceries online.

The O2O venture will bring thousands of kirana shops online.

This strategy is strikingly similar to that of Alibaba in China, before it became a global sensation. Interestingly, Reliance Retail and Alibaba were also in talks for a deal, as the Chinese major was expected to invest in Ambani’s e-commerce venture. However, the talks fell through.

The O2O model seems to be a tried and tested model for e-commerce players. Paytm Mall which has burnt its hands in the e-commerce world once, made a quick turnaround with the O2O model. The company ended the last financial year with a Gross Merchandising Value (GMV) of ₹130 billion, and is now aiming for ₹170 billion GMV by 2022.

At the recent Reliance AGM, the company had announced an immersive shopping experience using mixed reality (augmented reality and virtual reality combined) for Reliance Fibre subscribers.

Ambani is not short of suitors for his next-gen ideas either. It was earlier reported that global e-retail giant Amazon is looking to acquire a 26% stake in Reliance Retail. However, Amazon went ahead and struck a similar deal with Kishore Biyani’s Biyani’s Future Coupons. This company is the promoter of Future Retail, and Amazon will indirectly have ownership of the vast group of offline retail chains including Big Bazaar.

Reliance Retail has 10,644 stores across 6,700 cities, with 100 million registered loyalty customers, and saw 150 million footfalls in their stores in the previous year.

Reliance Retail posted robust pre-tax profits in the first quarter of 2019-20 as its revenues grew by around 70% to ₹2,049 crore. In the same quarter, it was at ₹1,206 crore last year.
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