National Chronicle

E-tailers see uptick in non-essential searches amid lockdown relaxation

New Delhi,  E-commerce players on Saturday said they are gearing up for serving millions of Indians users from May 4 as there has been an uptick in searches mainly for apparel, household products and personal grooming items in the past 24 hours.

Although the government has allowed the sale of only essential products in the red zone through e-commerce platforms, non-essential products are allowed in green and orange zones, starting May 4, subject to specific approval from the respective state governments.

The relaxation comes as a major relief for the e-commerce players.

Flipkart said that as a marketplace e-commerce player, it is its responsibility to enable sellers and the MSME community to bounce back and facilitate economic activity.

“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,” a company spokesperson told IANS.

“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,” the company added.

The Centre on Friday announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks from May 4, with certain relaxations to regions categorised as orange and green zones.

Snapdeal said that traffic to its platform has been growing steadily since the MHA announcement easing lockdown restrictions, including on e-commerce.

“The users are thronging the platform looking to place orders for a wide variety of products for which they have been waiting for a long time. Apparel and household products topped the list for searches and orders placed,” said a company spokesperson.

Although there is no categorical statement regarding allowing of non-essential sales by e-commerce players, the MHA order mentioned that all activities are permitted in green zones except buses, metro rail services, educational institutions and other non-essential places which could lead to mass congregation of people, including, malls, and cinema halls.

An Amazon spokesperson said on Friday that it welcomes the government’s decision to allow ecommerce in Orange and Green Zones to serve people safely with products that they need and have not been able to access due to the lockdown.

“Millions of small and medium businesses and traders will now be able to jumpstart their businesses and livelihoods across their workforce,” said the company spokesperson.

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