eCommerce ready for shipping non-essentials, but sales may take a hit

Ecommerce companies have starting shipping non-essential items to customers in orange and green zones from Monday, but sales could be impacted as metros and many large cities are in red zones. Major cities classified under red zone include Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Pune.

06 May 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

According to PTI reports, eCommerce companies like Amazon India and Walmart-backed Flipkart have been engaging closely with sellers to help them prepare for starting shipment of non-essential products as the third phase of lockdown comes into effect.

On 1 May, the home ministry had announced a two-week extension of lockdown but said there would be certain relaxations for orange and green zones. Under the latest rules, eCommerce activities in red zones, which cover large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, are permitted only for essential goods during the third phase of lockdown that ends on 17 May.

A senior industry executive, who did not wish to be named, said states including Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have also notified their guidelines for online commerce platforms that are similar to those issued by the Centre.

The executive said eCommerce companies that follow the marketplace model (like Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal) could face some challenge as many of their sellers are either located or have their warehouses in red zones. The home ministry guidelines remain unclear on operations of these marketplace sellers of non-essential products, who are in red zones. So, they are dependent on how local authorities issue their guidelines, he said.

Industry players as well as several consumer organisations have been requesting the government for expansion of the list of essential products to include items like laptops, mobile phones and chargers as well as summer clothing to ensure people that do not have to step out of their homes amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The addition of these categories will help customers, especially in red zones, to continue work and study from home and practice social distancing.

Tags : Covid-19;