Gradual Opening Of Non-Essential Goods Delivery Will Help Meet Demand: Flipkart
Workers sort packages at a Flipkart Online Services Pvt office in the Jayaprakash Narayan Nagar area of Bengaluru, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Gradual Opening Of Non-Essential Goods Delivery Will Help Meet Demand: Flipkart

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Walmart-owned Flipkart on Saturday said gradual opening up of non-essential goods delivery through e-commerce will help meet consumer demand, while easing the burden of piled up inventory of micro, small and medium enterprises amid the nationwide lockdown.

The comments came after the government allowed neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes in urban areas, to open at 50 percent strength and after taking necessary precautions during the ongoing lockdown till May 3.

A Flipkart Group spokesperson welcomed the government's decision of providing gradual relaxations in retail. "Consumers have shown great restraint during lockdown, and there is a need to support their requirements. Further, a gradual opening up of delivery of non-essential goods through ecommerce will help meet consumer needs, which include items that will enable them to work from home, stay in touch with others and also address the rising temperature across the country," the spokesperson said.

"Ecommerce 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 (standard operating procedures)," the spokesperson added.

An Amazon India spokesperson said online commerce offers the "safest way" for sellers/retailers to serve the needs of citizens while ensuring social distancing. The company urged 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 100 million 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 jump start their livelihoods in these difficult times," the spokesperson said.

Industry body Nasscom and Internet and Mobile Association of India, as well as players like ShopClues and Paytm Mall have urged the government to expand the list of essential items to include products like laptops and routers to facilitate people working from home.

Interestingly, after the Friday order, traders have sought more clarity for easier implementation of the order and urged states to issue necessary guidelines, without which shop owners would not be able to resume work. The Retailers Association of India said the government's order to allow reopening of shops is open to interpretation as terms like "market complexes" are not easily understood. Domestic traders' body, Confederation of All India Traders said shop owners are now waiting for necessary guidelines from state governments.

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