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Exclusive: Meta looking at more JioMart-like partnerships with WhatsApp  

Exclusive: Meta looking at more JioMart-like partnerships with WhatsApp  

In an exclusive interaction with Business Today, Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads Meta’s advertising business, says businesses across sectors are keenly watching the tie-up

Both WhatsApp and online grocery shopping app JioMart—part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)—have the strength in numbers. Both WhatsApp and online grocery shopping app JioMart—part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)—have the strength in numbers.

WhatsApp’s partnership with JioMart for grocery shopping is a “lighthouse example” for the world, says Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice President, Global Business Group, Meta, in an exclusive interaction with BT. A little over a month ago, Meta went live with what it calls the world’s first “end-to-end shopping experience” on WhatsApp. “You can go into the [JioMart] catalogue, you can choose the things you want delivered and pay for it....all within WhatsApp. It’s the first time we’ve done that globally,” says Mendelsohn, who heads Meta’s global advertising business. The world is looking at this partnership and trying to understand how they can take something born in India and “see what we can do with it elsewhere”, she says. 

Both WhatsApp and online grocery shopping app JioMart—part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)—have the strength in numbers. According to a Ministry of Electronics and IT communication from February 2021, WhatsApp had 530 million users in India, while JioMart has more than 2 million merchant partners, the company said at its recent annual general meeting. This will help the partnership expand its reach to the remotest parts of the country. 

According to Mendelsohn, the JioMart-WhatsApp partnership is important for other businesses as well. “It doesn’t matter if you’re not in grocery retailing,” she says, adding that one can take the “learnings and thinking” from this partnership and “then see what you might do” across different verticals. 

She says that some of the biggest businesses in India are keenly watching this partnership, trying to figure out what it means for them and their sector. And some of them are also keen to partner with WhatsApp—not just in retail, but across sectors. “Because... all types of businesses are organically already working on WhatsApp,” she says, adding that it’s still very early days, “but it’s certainly exciting”. 

Meta, Mendelsohn says, has big plans for WhatsApp in India. “India is a WhatsApp-first country—it’s [not only] one of the main ways that people communicate with one another, but also one of the main ways that people and businesses are now talking to one another,” Mendelsohn says. “So again, this is where we’ve been investing when it comes to imagining new ways that you might utilise the platform.”  

India has been a happy testing ground for Meta for many years. From a Facebook Lite app for modestly-powered mobile phones to its innovations with Instagram Reels, Meta has rolled out certain products and services in the India market first and then taken them to the rest of the world. With the JioMart-WhatsApp partnership, it seems to be showing businesses around the world how to use the power of WhatsApp for growth.

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Published on: Oct 13, 2022, 9:51 AM IST
Posted by: Mehak Agarwal, Oct 13, 2022, 9:45 AM IST