Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) recently announced plans to diversify into the Indian e-commerce market across fashion and electronics verticals. Its online platform is slated for launch by the end of the year.
RIL will commence its e-commerce business and would partner with 150,000 vendors, which is more than double in comparison to competitors. Large e-commerce players in India include Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal.
Flipkart, currently has 40,000 sellers on its platform -- after being in business for eight years. Amazon India, which started operations in June 2013, has around 50,000 active sellers; and Snapdeal has around 200,000 vendors.
RIL's e-commerce foray is linked to its telecom venture, Reliance Jio, whose features such as mobile wallet, Jio Money, and 4G telecom services will assist its e-commerce business. Gaurav Jain, strategy head at Reliance Retail said, "The plan is to start the launch of e-commerce along with R-Jio but it will happen in a phased manner".
Under its fashion portal, RIL will offer international lifestyle products sourced from brands across Singapore, Australia, Russia, Switzerland, China and Turkey. For the electronics vertical, it will launch a separate platform that will provide all devices currently available at its Reliance Digital stores.
The company plans to boost its cash and carry business, through partnership with 1.8 million mom and pop stores across the country. Though the Indian e-commerce space is overcrowded, Reliance could create a niche for itself, according to Arvind Singhal, chairman at consulting firm Technopak.
He added, "What RIL is bringing to the table is fundamentally much bigger than what any of the existing players offer. Their e-commerce offering will include elements like entertainment, gaming, and financial services, so they are bringing a much larger value proposition on one platform."
RIL was started in 1966 and has businesses ranging from petrochemicals to oil and gas. Its e-commerce business will be launched via subsidiary Reliance Retail.