Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm Mall have started taking orders for non-essential items in India as the government eased the national lockdown imposed on March 24 to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus. E-commerce companies are limited to delivering non-essential items to the identified green and orange zones in the country, based on the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by novel coronaviruses. However, in the case of red areas, which are mainly various metropolitan cities including the country’s capital Delhi and the economic capital Mumbai, e-commerce operations are limited to essential commodities.
E-commerce companies including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm Mall are initially closing their businesses for the Green and Orange zones. This means that people living in such areas can now order most of the goods available online. However, the case is not the same for customers living in red areas as they are not able to buy anything beyond essentials – mainly groceries and other daily essentials.
Companies like Amazon and Paytm Mall believe that the resumption of e-commerce sales in the country will help people to follow social distinctions and order without leaving their homes. Additionally, small businesses and merchants selling goods through e-commerce sites will be able to resume their earnings which were held up due to the lockdown.
“The government has taken a happy decision by opening e-commerce delivery of non-essential items in the Green and Orange zones,” said Paytm Senior Vice President Srinivas Mothei.
Government guidelines did not say anything specifically about the operation of e-commerce in the Green and Orange areas set by the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the guidelines mentioned that e-commerce activities would be “allowed only in respect of essential goods” and not to fulfill any other orders. Additionally, state governments have the power to convert existing green and orange zones in their states to red and vice versa. All this has caused some challenges for e-commerce companies.
Sources at Amazon and Flipkart told Seven Sense Tech that they are facing difficulties locally as some state governments have different rules than others. This may cause some delay in the initial shipment. Saying that the central government has allowed e-commerce companies to continue their warehousing operations for both essential and non-essential goods across the country. This will make it easier for them to fulfill orders – regardless of zones.