Reliance Industries, run by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, is gearing up to implement a winning strategy from its previous playbook for the fashion market: low-cost products.
Ajio, the retail fashion arm of Reliance, has quietly launched Ajio Street. The platform has a wide selection of clothing and accessories, starting as low as 199 Indian rupees ($2.4). According to Ajio’s website, Street guarantees the “lowest price” for its offerings, waives shipping charges, and promises an easy return process.
He Ajio street displaywhich hasn’t been previously reported, coincides with a confirmation from Shein, a dominant player in the global market for budget fashion hailing from China, that it has partnered with Reliance to re-establish a presence in the lucrative Indian market.
An emphasis on affordability is key to capturing market share in India’s fashion sector, analysts say, citing the region’s notoriously price-sensitive consumers.
The Indian newspaper Economic Times reported last month that Reliance plans to target consumers in smaller cities and towns in India with Ajio Street. The newspaper also said that Street will operate on a zero-commission model, which means that sellers will not pay any commission to the platform in a move to earn quick advances.
Reliance’s plan also puts Ajio Street in direct competition with SoftBank and Prosus-backed Meesho, which specializes in selling low-cost fashion items and accessories.
Ajio, launched in 2016, currently controls more than 15% of the fashion e-commerce market in India, according to wealth management and research firm Bernstein. Flipkart, which owns fashion giant Myntra, dominates the category with more than 60% market share, while Amazon clings to around 20% of the slice.
For Reliance, implementing an affordability-based approach to achieve market dominance has been a long-standing strategy. This was strikingly evident in the previous decade when the company dramatically shook up the Indian wireless sector with the introduction of Jio, which offers free voice calls and reduced data rates. With a subscriber base now exceeding 430 million, Jio now dominates the telecom industry in the South Asian market.