New Delhi: As restrictions on certain economic activities will be lifted to some extent starting April 20, e-commerce majors would be able to sell mobile phones and electronic items, including refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners, coolers along with stationery items, officials said. Also Read - Walmart Grocery App Pips Amazon in US in COVID-19 Times
The Centre on Wednesday allowed operations of e-commerce companies and courier services starting April 20. In an order, the Ministry of Home Affairs has also said that vehicles of e-commerce companies can ply, but with necessary permissions. The relaxations are allowed in areas which are not hotspots for coronavirus cases. Also Read - Amazon Working on a Game Streaming Platform: Report
During the first 21 days of the lockdown, e-commerce platforms were allowed to sell only essential goods such as food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Also Read - Flipkart Temporarily Suspends Services as India Goes Under Lockdown, Amazon to Only Deliver 'Essentials'
However, initially during the nationwide lockdown, there were issues being faced by their delivery personnel due to the restrictions imposed by the authorities.
There were several reports of delivery partners of e-commerce firms being roughed up by the police, but eventually the Home Ministry assured the companies that they would be able to operate and deliver essential goods.
An Amazon India spokesperson said that the company is now focused on supporting the immediate need of the consumers.
“We are now focused on supporting the immediate need of consumers and also participating in the resumption of economic activity post the Ministry of Home Affairs notification. We are working closely with all our partners, brands, manufacturers, sellers, small businesses and local shops, helping them to offer the most needed products to customers,” said the spokesperson.
“While we will increase selection that customers can safely shop from their homes, we will also continue to ensure safety of our delivery associates and our teams at our facilities,” he added.
A spokesperson for Flipkart Group said: “In accordance with the guidelines announced by the government and in collaboration with all state governments and local authorities, we will continue to serve consumers to promote social distancing through our sanitised supply chain, contact-less deliveries and safe last mile delivery processes.”
He further said that the group’s seller support team is providing constant counsel and on-ground support to sellers on its platform to help them resume operations in a few days.
“Our analytics teams are supporting the sellers with market intelligence to ensure smooth listings on the platforms. Also, our supply chain team continues to maintain an intense focus on safety and health procedures,” said the Flipkart spokesperson.
A Snapdeal spokesperson also said that the company is preparing to scale up operations, as per the government’s guidelines to meet the requirements of both buyers and sellers.
“Summer apparel, kitchen accessories, small appliances like headsets, tablets for school work, home printers, competitive exam books etc. will be in high demand. Nearly 50 per cent of the sellers will be in a position to resume operations and more are likely to follow the lead after assessing the local situation in their respective areas,” said the spokesperson.