After Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) acquired a minority stake of 9.99% in Jio Platforms for a whopping $5.7 billion in April, it was revealed that WhatsApp would be paired with Ambani’s O2O, aka offline to online, platform JioMart to boost local commerce in India. However, it has been found out that the social media behemoth had chalked out a long term game for the popular messaging platform from the very beginning.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook will be expanding their newly-established partnership with Jio platforms on WhatsApp to other Indian commerce customers along with launching the solution in foreign countries as well.
In a statement, he revealed to analysts that one of the primary reasons for the Facebook partnership with Jio was to help thousands of small businesses in India get on-board with WhatsApp to conduct commerce via the platform. Thus, once the Facebook-Jio duo can prove they can accomplish this goal at scale, the solution has been planned to be made available to other players in India and other countries too.
Is Facebook Aiming For A Brand New Category Creation?
WhatsApp is currently the leading popular messaging platform with over 2 billion users worldwide. It automatically puts Facebook in a dominant position to establish WhatsApp’s capability to conduct commerce as a category of its own in the e-commerce domain.
Zuckerberg, in the statement, added that he has been thinking about the concept of ‘messaging commerce’. He believes there is a massive opportunity in enabling people and businesses to buy and sell things via WhatsApp as a majority of all internet users already use the platform daily.
Thus, it is well understood that WhatsApp’s integration with JioMart, which is yet to take off properly, is a colossal pilot test for the creation of a brand new category in the digital ecosystem. For Facebook, it will be a massive win if the concept of ‘messaging commerce’ takes off in India, considering it is the largest market for WhatsApp. It will give the social media behemoth a massive boost of confidence when it comes to launching the solution in its home country and other foreign countries.
Currently, JioMart is being rolled out in phases and has reached 250,000 orders a day with numbers continuing to grow every day, according to Ambani. The frontrunner of Reliance Industries believes it will soon become the go-to app for all shopping needs big and small for Indian consumers. Thus they have decided to partner up with WhatsApp which can provide a seamless platform to transact as well as communicate with kirana shops and other local businesses.
It needs to be noted that the social media giant has already launched Facebook Shops to cash in on the expanding e-commerce space, which has been triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, if the duo can establish WhatsApp in a new category created from scratch, then Facebook will be well on its way to becoming a force to reckon with when it comes to being the facilitator of online retail.
Now, it remains to be seen what the future holds for WhatsApp’s commerce solution. We will keep you posted on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.