Updated: May 1, 2020 11:13:50 pm
The coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown is affecting businesses — small, medium and large — across the world. E-commerce platforms are also hit due to the lockdown and delivery agents unable to step out of their homes. Currently, online shopping platforms are allowed to sell only essential products including groceries, vegetables, fruits, everyday kitchen necessities, kids and medical products.
After the second lockdown was announced the government had allowed the delivery of all kinds of products including essential and non-essential. The service was supposed to begin on April 20. In fact, Flipkart started accepting smartphone orders given the shipment was to begin on April 20. But due to the rising cases in the country, as a precautionary measure Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that e-commerce platforms cannot resume the sale of non-essential products until May 3, the day when India lockdown will lift.
Soon after the announcement was made by MHA platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Mi.com, revealed that they will follow the government directive and will not sell non-essential products including smartphones, laptops, other gadgets, clothing and more. However, e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart are now requesting the Indian government to slowly begin the sale of non-essential products in the country as that will help small businesses revive their livelihood. The sale of all non-essential products is stopped until May 3.
The e-commerce platforms are urging for a gradual opening of non-essential product delivery which they believe will help them meet consumer demands. This move they say will also ease the pressure of piled up inventory of MSMEs.
“E-commerce offers the safest way for sellers/retailers to serve the needs of citizens while ensuring social distancing. We are committed to keep citizens safe and urge the government to enable e-commerce to play its role in the joint fight against the pandemic by allowing the supply of all goods that people need over a prolonged period.” “We as a company are committed to serve more than 100m Indians from the safety of their homes, reduce the number of people who need to step out, while at the same time help hundreds of thousands of small businesses jumpstart their livelihoods in these difficult times,” an Amazon spokesperson told indianexpress.com in an email statement.
According to PTI a Flipkart Group spokesperson commenting on allowing the sale of non-essential said, “E-commerce can help meet these requirements in a safe and secure way while ensuring social distancing and allowing the Government in continuing their efforts to contain this situation. E-commerce can also support in easing the burden of piled up inventory of MSMEs and help in the delivery of these products to consumers in a safe and secure way while following the robust safety SOPs.”
Both Amazon and Flipkart are assuring to carry out a safe delivery process so no delivery agents or the customers are affected in any manner possible. The e-commerce platforms also claim that they have trained their delivery agent will all the safety and security measures while delivering products and also the importance of social distancing.