Difficult to define static essentials list; allow deliveries of all products: Amazon urges Maharashtra govt

By: |
April 14, 2021 9:22 PM

Currently, it is enabling deliveries of only essential products in Maharashtra in line with the new guidelines set by the state government.

Amazon IndiaIndustry estimates suggest that Maharashtra makes a double-digit contribution to e-commerce sales in the country and is a major market, along with geographies like Delhi-NCR and Karnataka.

E-commerce major Amazon on Wednesday urged the Maharashtra government to allow deliveries of all products to customers amid new restrictions to curb coronavirus infections, saying it was challenging to define a static essentials list.

Currently, it is enabling deliveries of only essential products in Maharashtra in line with the new guidelines set by the state government.

“Customers trust Amazon.in to safely deliver all products according to their respective needs. Currently, we are enabling deliveries of essential products in the state of Maharashtra in line with new guidelines set by the government,” an Amazon India spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that learnings from the last year showed that urgent customer needs vary across households and it is challenging to define a static essentials list.

“…therefore we request the government to allow delivery of all products as soon as possible. E-commerce is the safest way to serve consumers’ needs while supporting livelihoods of lakhs of small & medium businesses including the local shops,� the spokesperson said.

According to a senior industry executive, industry representatives have approached the Maharashtra government, Home Ministry and DPIIT to request that allow delivery of all items via e-commerce in the state.

“Our delivery in Maharashtra will be restricted to essentials, as mandated by the government. However, users will be able to order from the entire catalogue and delivery of non-essentials will happen when that is permitted,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said.

The spokesperson expressed hope that the government – as part of its dynamic review of the situation – will consider allowing e-commerce companies to cater to the complete range of user requirements.

“Enabling users to shop from the safety of their homes is a crucial advantage that e-commerce offers. It also helps reduce the impact of economic disruption on lakhs of online sellers and those associated with such businesses,” the spokesperson elaborated.

According to the health ministry data, till 8 am on Wednesday, Maharashtra had 5,94,585 active cases, up 28,307 from the previous day.

Industry estimates suggest that Maharashtra makes a double-digit contribution to e-commerce sales in the country and is a major market, along with geographies like Delhi-NCR and Karnataka.

As per reports, other platforms like Flipkart and JioMart have also stopped taking orders for non-essential items from customers in the state.

Flipkart did not respond to queries.

Lockdowns are not a new phenomenon for e-commerce companies in the country. Last year in March, as the pandemic broke out, a nationwide lockdown was imposed that brought transportation of goods and movement of personnel to a grinding halt.

However, the e-commerce sector has also been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, as containment measures introduced millions to the convenience of online shopping, and prompted seasoned online shoppers to buy more.

There were initial hiccups and e-commerce companies struggled to complete deliveries even as orders pile up. During the first two phases of the lockdown, e-commerce companies were allowed to sell only essential items like grocery, healthcare and pharmaceutical products.

In the following phases (starting May 4), the restrictions were gradually lifted.

With the second wave of COVID cases now touching record highs, states may look at enforcing stricter guidelines around the movement to control the spread. E-commerce players will bank on last year’s experience to manage the situation better this time.

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