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JioMart-WhatsApp integration rolls out to all users

JioMart-WhatsApp integration rolls out to all users
Photo Credit: Pixabay
29 Aug, 2022
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Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta and Mukesh Ambani’s Jio have completed the integration of messaging platform WhatsApp and JioMart, which has been in the works for over a year now. The two companies had announced a pilot phase for the project back in December last year, and Zuckerberg announced the full-rollout shortly after Jio’s annual general meeting (AGM), today.

JioMart is the online grocery delivery platform operated by Akash Ambani’s Jio Platforms Limited, while WhatsApp is an instant messaging platform owned by Meta (formerly Facebook). WhatsApp has been pushing its WhatsApp Business platform since last year, which allows commerce on the personal messaging platform. The integration between the two platforms has been in the works since Facebook acquired a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms back in April 2020, for ₹43,574 crore.

The JioMart service will now be available for all users through WhatsApp, where orders can be placed by contacting the service through the chat platform. Zuckerberg, who is the founder and chief executive of Meta Platforms, said that the integration is the “first ever end to end shopping experience on WhatsApp.” 

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“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,” he added.

Haptik, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot platform owned by Jio Platforms, will handle the chat operations of JioMart on WhatsApp.

JioMart made its first demo rollout on WhatsApp in April 2020, offering its services through a chat-based interface on the app in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan districts of Maharashtra. In December last year, the service made its official pilot rollout in the country, offering the service in wider areas across India.

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With the latest announcement, JioMart will now be accessible on WhatsApp across India. It will allow users to book orders and make payments directly from the chat platform. According to statistics tracker Statista’s May 2022 report, WhatsApp has over 487 million users in India, while its January 2022 estimate pegged its monthly active user base in the country at 390 million.

The move could be a beneficial move for JioMart in the rapid hyperlocal grocery delivery market, according to analysts at market research firm, RedSeer. A report published by the firm in March stated that the market for such services could grow 15x within the next three years, and could be valued at over $5.5 billion in 2025.

Abhishek Gupta, engagement manager at RedSeer, said that given WhatsApp’s installed user base in the country, using the service could increase the accessible market for rapid grocery delivery services in the country.

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That said, WhatsApp has previously faced criticism in India after introducing a contentious privacy policy last year. In the policy, the service had stated that personal metadata, or identifiers, belonging to user conversations, could be shared with businesses operating on its platform. It eventually put its policy in India on hold in July last year.

“From a regulatory standpoint, it would be next to impossible to find a single law to regulate WhatsApp and JioMart — which are an intermediary and an e-commerce service, respectively. But, from an individual services standpoint, WhatsApp would not have any jurisdiction to share user data from other conversations with JioMart to recommend products of a certain kind,” said Akash Karmakar, partner at law firm Panag & Babu.

He further added that Meta applies a global policy for privacy standards, which is defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws of the European Union. “Under the present Indian laws, it could technically be possible for companies to hide behind the specific definition of sensitive information to share certain types of data. But, for all operational purposes, it is certain that any act of data collection and sharing through the business interface will have to seek prior consent from users,” Karmakar added.

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Other than Facebook, Google also owns a stake in Jio Platforms. The company invested ₹33,737 crore in the firm in November 2020, for a 7.73% stake. Intel Capital and Qualcomm, too, invested in the firm.