E-commerce firms get set to deliver goods in orange, green zones in ‘challenging’ times

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 04, 2020 Published on May 03, 2020

As several States have begun issuing fresh notifications for lockdown 3.0, in line with the new Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines, e-commerce companies said they are gearing up to start delivering non-essential products in orange and green zones.

But, industry players pointed to on-ground challenges regarding supply chains, such as access to warehouses located in red zones, which may limit availability of product categories in green and orange zones. According to Home Ministry guidelines, in the red zones, e-commerce firms can only deliver  essential products.

Srinivas Mothey, Senior Vice-President, Paytm Mall, said, “We would be going live with our key categories including consumer electronics, laptops, home, and fashion from Monday. While we will continue to deliver in essentials in all zones, non-essential categories would be opened for orange and green zones.”

“Our teams, as well as logistics partners, have taken all prior permissions from local authorities and would follow all guidelines set by the government for different zones. Our suppliers, logistics partners, and most importantly offline shopkeeper base are all set to go online,” he said. By Sunday evening, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh among others had notified new guidelines for the extended lockdown period till May 17.

Rajneesh Kumar, SVP & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group, said, “Our seller support team is providing constant online counsel and support to sellers on our platform to help them resume operations over the next couple of days complying with the government directives. We are working with lakhs of sellers and MSMEs across India and helping them prepare their businesses and workforce to make products available for consumers in this time of need as they continue to stay indoors,” he added.

Industry players and experts, however, said that supply chain may still continue to face constraints. A senior executive with an e-commerce company said, “Many of our seller clusters are in key urban centres, which fall under red zones and hence there are still challenges for them, in terms of being able to access their warehouses. We believe this will limit the supply of products accessible to consumers in green and orange zones.”

Ankur Pahwa, Partner and National Leader – E-Commerce and Consumer Internet, EY India, said that the demand generated by tier-II and -III cities for non-essential items will be key indicator of the consumer sentiment as many of the tier-I cities continue to be under mixed zone. “Start-ups in the mobility space will especially hope to quickly get back to normal although with more stringent hygiene measures in place and some of the guidelines provide tail wind to them, while B2C companies will have to wait for the demand to pick up under the discretionary spends,” he added. Meanwhile, consumer products firms and their sellers are working to begin selling their inventories in green and orange zones through e-commerce.

Harkirat Singh, MD, Aero Club known for brand Woodland, said, “We have begun talks with Myntra and Flipkart in this regard. We will need to monitor how demand pans out in the next few days.”

Added Avneet Singh Marwah, Director & CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, “We are going to start online sales from tomorrow in orange and green zones. But majority of online sales still come from urban centres which are currently in red zones.”

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Published on May 03, 2020
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