E-commerce firms to scale up operations post April 20

The revised MHA guidelines allows e-commerce sector to restart delivery from April 20, if the States allow.

Updated - April 17, 2020 03:48 pm IST

Published - April 17, 2020 03:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

File photo of a Snapdeal fulfilment centre.

File photo of a Snapdeal fulfilment centre.

Following the Centre’s move to allow restarting of e-commerce sector April 20 onwards, online commerce firms are gearing up to scale up operations in anticipation of high demand for products in the health category, kitchen accessories, books, and mobile phones.

“In accordance with the MHA guidelines issued on April 15, 2020, we are preparing to scale up operations to meet the requirements of our users - both buyers and sellers. Nearly 50% 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,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said.

During the lockdown period, Snapdeal — like all other ecommerce players was delivering only essential products, however, the platform was accepting other orders as well which will be delivered once the restrictions are removed. “We have a healthy pipeline of orders. We expect that products such as summer apparel, kitchen accessories, small appliances like headsets, tablets for school work, home printers and competitive exam books will be in high demand,” the spokesperson added.

An industry official said that while companies are setting up a roadmap, operations will depend on approvals from local authorities.

Srinivas Mothey, senior vice president, Paytm Mall, said they are already in discussions with brands and merchants for readiness in terms of inventory, packaging material, and sales estimates, and are working to fulfil the consumer demand for non-essential goods. Mr Mothey said categories such as health products, consumer electronics, home appliances, kitchen essentials, mobile phones and accessories and clothing, are expected to show an increase in demand, however, in a phased manner.

Grofers, which has seen more than twice the surge in demand in the current situation, has also been able to bring down service time to 2-3 days in most places. “We don’t have a massive pile up of orders right now. The demand of course remains very high and we are now operating at 70% capacity,” the company’s co-founder Saurabh Kumar said. The company is also looking at ramping up hiring aggressively to cater to the demand and is onboarding 200-300 people every day.

Amazon India spokesperson said the firm is 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. While we will increase selection so 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,” the spokesperson said.

Likewise, Flipkart said that it is working with lakhs of sellers, small businesses and artisans across India to make products available for consumers. It added that its seller support team is providing constant counsel and on-ground support to sellers on our platform to help them resume operations in a few days.

“Our analytics teams are supporting 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 in our facilities and staff that will support the movement of goods for sellers,” a Flipkart spokesperson said.

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