Reliance Retail, a unit of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd, is inching closer to the full-fledged commercial launch of its women-focused lifestyle eâ€“commerce venture.
"The curated fashion and lifestyle e-commerce initiative is transitioning from project phase to operational phase through beta testing and has been launched on an invitation-only basis," RIL said in its third-quarter earnings presentation. RIL is currently conducting customer tests to obtain feedback on the website's performance.
The company did not give a launch date for the venture. The curated fashion website will house a private label while 60 per cent of its products would be sourced from international and national brands, RIL said.
The company aims to target women in the 18 to 34 years age group.
Reliance Retail, the country's top retailer by revenues and stores, is making a transition to the online world with this move. Riding on the back of the internet infrastructure that 4G telephony services unit Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd is creating, RIL wants to build a differentiated e-commerce model, company chairman Mukesh Ambani had said earlier.
Reliance Jio had unveiled its widely anticipated 4G telephony service for RIL staffers in December.
Its commercial launch is expected in the next few months.
Reliance Jio holds spectrum across the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2300MHz bands, through which it will provide 4G services using Long Term Evolution (LTE).
Reliance Retail grew by 29 per cent in the third quarter ended December 31, posting revenue of Rs 6,042 crore as against Rs 4,686 crores in the same quarter last year. Reliance Retail runs 3,043 stores across 371 cities in India. RIL's net revenue was down by 23.9 per cent to Rs 73,341 crore while its net profit rose by 38.7 per cent to Rs 7,290 crore.
The lifestyle e-commerce space has seen a lot of activity in the last 12 months. In October, the Aditya Birla Group launched its e-commerce fashion portal,abof.com. The Nahata family and British businessman-turned-politician Waheed Alli put $5.4M more in lifestyle e-tailer Koovs earlier this month.
Jabong, Myntra, Koovs and Yepme are the top online fashion portals besides horizontal e-commerce players such as Flipkart (which also owns Myntra), Snapdeal and Amazon.
According to Google, India's online fashion retail market is expected to reach $35 billion by 2020. Fashion-related queries are growing at an annual rate of 66 per cent, the online search giant said.