Reliance Retail, an arm of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries that is the largest modern retailer, joined the fashion e-commerce race with the launch of portal ajio.com.
The online fashion and style destination of Reliance Retail was unveiled with a preview at the Lakme Fashion Week on Saturday.
Ajio’s online store will feature a collection of over 200 international and national brands as well as own-brand merchandise comprising apparels, lingerie, shoes, accessories, and jewellery. It will leverage Reliance’s sourcing, supply chain and retail operations capabilities to differentiate further in the market, Ajio said.
Isha Ambani, director on the board of Reliance Retail has been closely associated with the conceptualisation of the fashion portal. This is Reliance Retail’s second e-commerce initiative. It has already launched reliancefreshdirect.com, its grocery delivery platform in Mumbai and surrounding towns.
In its third quarter earnings update in January, Reliance had said that apart from fashion e-commerce, development of marketplace platform would be rolled out in a phased manner. An electronics e-commerce platform is also expected later this year.
Reliance’s e-commerce initiatives are expected to get a boost once the company commercially rolls out its Jio 4G telecom service.
“With the advanced internet infrastructure built by Jio and a robust physical retail business built by Reliance Retail, we will create a differentiated e-commerce model for India. This model will entail seamless integration of online and offline while innovating across superior customer experience, delivery services and payment ecosystem,” RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had said at the company’s annual general meeting last year.
The online fashion marketplace is currently dominated by the likes of Myntra.com, owned by Flipkart, jabong.com, Amazon among others.
Companies such as Reliance Retail, Shoppers Stop and the Aditya Birla Group, which have predominantly been brick-and-mortar retailers are also investing in this space. Last October, Kumar Mangalam Birla-led Aditya Birla Group launched its own fashion portal abof.com, which sells apparel brands owned by its group companies and footwear and accessories.
In August, Shoppers Stop tied up with Snapdeal to open its online store on the latter’s marketplace. Shoppers Stop is also revamping its own e-commerce portal shopperstop.com.
The Tata Group is also expected to launch its online marketplace later this year.
Increasing internet penetration, growing number of smartphone users and small town residents getting access to latest fashion brands and trends is driving growth of the e-commerce portals. According to estimates by Google, India is expected to generate almost $100 billion online retail revenue by 2020, with fashion e-commerce contributing to around $35 billion.