Give the customers what they want, when and where they want it - Joe C Thomson Jr., Founder, 7-Eleven

Give the customers what they want, when and where they want it - Joe C Thomson Jr., Founder, 7-Eleven

Reliance Retail has formed a joint venture with 7-Eleven, the world's largest offline retailer with over 77,000 locations in 18 countries. The American company entered into a joint venture with Kishore Biyani's Future Group in 2019 with the intention of aligning its KB's Fair Price format with 7-Eleven and establishing a formidable network of a few thousand neighbourhood stores through which it would sell groceries and household items under the Care Mate, Tasty Treat, Karmiq, Ekta, Mother Earth, and Golden Harvest brands, among others. The JV, however, did not immediately materialise in 2019. The year 2020 began with the covid-19 epidemic, followed by complete and intermittent lockdowns, which forced the King of Retail, Mr. Biyani, to sell the whole Future Group, lock, stock, and barrel, to the Emperor of Retail, Mr. Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Group. Reliance Retail announced the new joint venture with 7-Eleven in a press release and through a notification to SEBI. The business plans to launch its first store in suburban Mumbai on Saturday, 9 October '21, the third day of Navarathri, a highly auspicious occasion.

"At Reliance, we pride ourselves on giving the best to our customers, and we are happy to bring 7-Eleven, the world's most trusted convenience store, to India," stated Ms. Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited. 7-Eleven is one of the world's most recognisable convenience store brands. The additional roads we're constructing in collaboration with SEI will provide Indian customers with increased convenience and choice within their neighbourhoods."

"India is the world's second largest country and has one of the world's fastest expanding economies. It is an opportune time for the world's largest convenience retailer to enter India," SEI President and Chief Executive Officer Joe DePinto remarked. "Through our strategic partnership with Reliance Retail Ventures, we will deliver the convenience products and services of 7-Eleven to millions of Indian consumers, beginning in the city of Mumbai."

Reliance Retail is well positioned to lead India's Modern Retail Industry over the next decade through its 360* approach, which combines offline consumer retail (via its neighbourhood stores in a variety of formats), warehouse retail (via R'Mart - the wholesale format), online retail (via the JioMart App), and omni-channel delivery platforms. To complement this, the group's JIO telecom network will connect over 400 million Indians to the "salt to steel" Reliance Retail models, a key competitive advantage that rivals TATA Group, Birlas, and others do not have. Over the last year, Reliance Retail has benefited the most from its omni-channel strategy, to the extent that it is converting a number of Reliance Fresh stores into Reliance "Smart Points" that will double as storage locations to expeditiously deliver goods to customers who order via the JioMart mobile app.

Jio Point of Sales (PoS) has been tested for some time now, and it is expected that Reliance will bring the PoS to millions of kiranas and may even encourage them to become a Reliance touchpoint by supplying everything from inventory to customers, technology to delivery services, and, of course, working capital. This is where the 7-Eleven format may appear to be a risky proposition. Numerous offline retailers are fearful of the threat and competition posed by Reliance Retail formats such as Trends (clothing), Fresh (groceries), Footwear, and Eyewear, among others. The business may conceal its presence by franchising the 7-Eleven idea while supplying its own private label products to the country's estimated 12 million tiny and marginal Kirana stores. It might be a win-win situation for both the Group and the small shopkeeper, with the consumer as the primary benefactor.