Retailers seek written assurance from Reliance Retail on customer data
Offline retailers’ concerns come on the back of Reliance Digital, which is part of Reliance Retail, negotiating with retailers to install tablets in their mobile stores as part of the ‘Jio Mart Digital programme’. These tablets will be loaded with a comprehensive catalogue of some 20,000-odd consumer electronics products, which the customer-visiting these offline stores-can shortlist and have home delivered or even pick from the concerned mobile store, or from any other Reliance Digital store.
In the process, the offline mobile retailer can earn commission from Reliance, ranging from 3-20%, depending on the price of the product.
But handset retailers are far from comfortable. “Yes, we get a commission from each transaction, but we may lose out on our repeat customers. If Reliance starts messaging them about all mobile phones and provides discounts, then who will come to our stores?,” wonders a Gujarat-based handset retailer, who did not wish to be named.
Last Sunday, Sunil Dutt, president for devices & mobility at Reliance Jio, had a meeting with offline retailers to discuss details of this online-offline programme.
“Dutt told retailers that
chairman Mukesh Ambani’s vision is to empower domestic retailers and grow their channel along with this programme,” Arvinder Khurana, national president at All India Mobile Retailers Association , told ET. AIMRA represents close to 150,000 independent mobile retailers across the country.
However, retailers have repeatedly sought assurances from Reliance on whether customers would continue to opt for offline purchases, especially since offline retailers have been facing challenges from online channels.
“They (Reliance) have not given any assurance, but retailer associations will hold meetings in their states to get a larger consensus,” said a Mumbai-based retailer, who was present in the meeting.
At press time, queries to Reliance Retail remained unanswered.
Offline retailers have been grappling with the rising trend of consumers buying online amid the ongoing pandemic, and their business has taken a severe jolt during festival sales.