On Sunday, the Indian government issued a new set of guidelines that might bring much-needed relief to businesses that are suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. These guidelines will allow ecommerce companies to deliver non-essential items such as mobile phones and laptops.
India used a color-coding system of Red, Orange, and Green to indicate the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in certain areas of the country (Red being the worst affected). According to the new guidelines, Red and Orange zones are further divided into containment and buffer zones by local authorities. While ecommerce companies won’t be able to deliver essentials to containment zones, they will be available to fulfill all their orders in other areas.
In a statement, Amazon said that this will give a boost to 600,000 retailers on the company’s platform:
Amazon welcomes the latest notification from Government of India as it enables ecommerce to deliver a wider selection of products while upholding the tenets of safety and social distancing. This will give a fillip to the 6 lakh retailers and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) on our marketplace and help revive economic activity more broadly.
A Snapdeal spokesperson said that the company is ready to start servicing customers all across India:
We are ready and equipped to now start serving customers all across India – in red, green, and orange zones – by providing them access to the entire selection of millions of products.
Walmart-owned Flipkart is also set to resume operations. In a statement, the company said it’s working with sellers across India to help them resume their business:
We welcome the efforts by the governments at Center and States in progressively charting out a lockdown exit plan and allowing e-commerce to serve the consumers with their varied product needs in all the classified zones, except containment zones.
We are working with lakhs of MSMEs and sellers across India to provide them with constant counsel and help with their business readiness. Our seller support team is providing on-ground support to sellers to help them resume operations swiftly and make products available for the consumers in this time of need.
India ordered its first lockdown on March 25, and have relaxed some norms in subsequent lockdowns. On May 4, the country allowed Amazon, Flipkart, and other ecommerce firms to deliver non-essential goods, but with certain caveats. However, the new guidelines issued over the weekend will open up most of the country for sellers and ecommerce companies alike.