There’s going to be a new kind on the block in the country’s e-commerce arena. Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest man, has announced that Reliance Industries will launch its e-commerce portal for electronics and fashion goods by the end of this year.
“Reliance Retail 2.0 initiatives encompassing fashion and lifestyle e-commerce, development of marketplace platform and building distribution ecosystem for Jio devices are on track and gearing up for rollout in a staged manner,” RIL said in a press release announcing its earnings for July-September 2015.
The move will pit the 58-year-old Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries against Flipkart’s 34-year-old co-founder and chief executive officer Sachin Bansal and 32-year-old Kunal Bahl of Snapdeal.
Stepping into e-commerce was not a sudden decision and Reliance had been preparing for it. Last year, Reliance Retail took tentative steps into the crowded sector without much fanfare. Reliance Retail’s Reliance Fresh Direct virtual store has started taking online orders for groceries, fresh produce and household items and offering the service in a few neighbourhoods in Mumbai.
RIL also has another advantage. The company’s telecom venture Reliance Jio is likely to be of great assistance to the company’s online retailing plans through its mobile wallet, Jio Money and 4G telecom services.
The company plans to launch its e-commerce platforms with 150,000 vendors. That’s large comparison to Flipkart which operates with only around 40,000 sellers on its platform and Snapdeal, with around 200,000 vendors.
RIL will offer international brands on its fashion portal by partnering with companies in Singapore, Australia, Russia, Switzerland, China and Turkey.
The company will roll out a separate online shopping platform for all the electronic items offered at its offline retail outlets, Reliance Digital. (SH)