Whether e-Commerce sellers can start selling Non-essential items amid extended COVID-19 Lockdown.
A day after e-commerce marketplaces received government nod to deliver non-essential items beginning April 20, companies have begun evaluating all possibilities of resuming operations to make the most of this lifeline.
According to the fresh guidelines issued by the Centre, e-commerce has been deemed as an ‘essential’ service and vehicles used by these companies will be allowed to ply with nod. Sellers on e-commerce marketplaces are wary about products finding buyers as leading e-tailers Amazon and Flipkart have yet to provide clarity on demand despite a government directive allowing sale of non-essential items after April 20. Flipkart has notified sellers via email that they should prepare to start processing and dispatching orders, while Amazon has told them that it was awaiting clarity on the revised government guidelines.
As per the MHA guidelines, Flipkart interpreted it as sales can begin from April 20 and Amazon said they seek clarity. This makes e-Commerce sellers business decisions very uncertain because their maximum sales are driven by these platforms.
While some, who have been allowed to begin production activities, are unsure how they will do so and at what capacity given the absenteeism of labour and logistics constraints, optimists say that there is adequate inventory to cater to the demand during the extended lockdown.
As per Ministry of Home Affairs, e-commerce has been deemed as an ‘essential’ service and vehicles used by these companies will be allowed to ply with permission except the demarcated containment zones – hotspots or red zones – where the spread of the infection is high.
Adhering to the new rules, e-retailers such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and PayTM Mall are preparing to accept orders and deliver all items, including non-essentials. E-retailers are also awaiting state nod on the ‘non-essential’ goods that can be sold and delivered post which third-party sellers could begin shipping their goods to fulfillment centers of these marketplaces.
State-wise Rajasthan, Odisha, Goa and Maharashtra have so far permitted these firms to function fully, while Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka are likely to take a decision soon.