Indian telecom company Reliance Jio and Facebook are collaborating on a new project called JioMart which is basically an eCommerce venture about to tread on the new region of “ordering system” on WhatsApp. Users in Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Kalyan, three suburban areas of Mumbai, can now use JioMart’s WhatsApp business account for grocery shopping.
The ordering can be initiated by texting “Hi” to +91-8850008000, which prompts a link that opens a mini-store on the browser which comes with a selection of grocery products ranging from toothpaste, a snack to rice and cooking oil. Once the order has been placed, JioMart assigns a local shop to the order and sends the invoice to the user through WhatsApp.
The initiative is still in its pilot programme and more than 1200 local stores have decided to join in.
Using WhatsApp is an ingenious idea since most of the Indian users use this Facebook-owned platform. Facebook had announced last week that it was investing $5.7 billion in Reliance Jio Platforms to secure a 9.9% stake of the Indian firm.
Ajit Mohan, a Facebook VP who oversees the company’s business in India, mentioned that the two companies are looking for new ways to collaborate on, and one of their other collabs could allow users to find local stores around them on WhatsApp, talk to them and place an order online using WhatsApp.
“You can browse shops and talk to the shop owner. And ultimately, where we do want to take this flow is for you to be able to place your orders,” he said.
It should be mentioned that WhatsApp had started to test out its payment system in India, it has yet to receive approval from New Delhi for a nationwide rollout of Pay in India. However, only 1 million WhatsApp users in India have access to the payment method as of yet.