Meta brings online shopping to WhatsApp with India’s JioMart

30 Aug 2022

Image: Meta

Nearly half a billion Indians who use WhatsApp will now be able to browse and pay for products through WhatsApp without leaving the app.

Meta and India’s Reliance Retail are integrating WhatsApp with the JioMart e-commerce platform to offer online grocery shopping through the messaging app.

Reliance Retail is a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries, India’s largest company by market cap and revenue.

This is the first time online shopping is being launched on WhatsApp. It is part of an effort by Ambani, one of the richest people in the world, to take on rivals Amazon and Flipkart – the two big local players in online shopping.

“Excited to launch our partnership with JioMart in India. This is our first-ever end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp – people can now buy groceries from JioMart right in a chat,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post.

WhatsApp’s nearly half a billion users in India will get access to the JioMart grocery catalogue simply by sending a ‘Hi’ to the JioMart number. This will allow them to browse products, add them to their cart and pay – all without leaving the app.

“Business messaging is an area with real momentum and chat-based experiences like this will be the go-to way people and businesses communicate in the years to come,” Zuckerberg added.

Two smartphone screens showing the JioMart catalogue of products on WhatsApp across different categories.

The JioMart catalogue on WhatsApp. Image: Meta

Ambani, who launched JioMart in late 2019 as a venture between Reliance Retail and telecom giant Reliance Jio, said that his company’s vision is to “propel India as the world’s leading digital society”.

Jio Platforms, the tech subsidiary of Reliance Industries, previously partnered with Meta to bring more people and businesses in India online during the pandemic.

“When Jio Platforms and Meta announced our partnership in 2020, Mark and I shared a vision of bringing more people and businesses online and creating truly innovative solutions that will add convenience to the daily lives of every Indian,” Ambani said.

“One example of an innovative customer experience that we are proud of developing is the first-ever end-to-end shopping experience with JioMart on WhatsApp. The JioMart on WhatsApp experience furthers our commitment of enabling a simple and convenient way of online shopping to millions of Indians.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic