Major online platforms such as Flipkart and Amazom have asked the government to reopen sale of electronic and IT products on E-commerce platforms. The sale of these products was allowed but later was retracted after the offline retailers’ associations sent letters to the government , asking to place a ban on the sale of IT products online, since this placed them at a disadvantage. After this, the government placed a ban on the E-commerce platforms to sell products except the staple foods. Recently, standalone shops and the shops in residential areas were allowed to sell non-essentials, while the retailers in market places still remained shut.
“E-commerce offers the safest way to ensure social distancing, saving lives and livelihoods. We urge the government to allow us to deliver all products (not just essentials) that citizens need over a prolonged period so that they can stay safe, while simultaneously jump-starting MSMEs.”
— Amit Agarwal, Head, Amazon India, on Twitter
“There is a need to support consumer requirements. Further, a gradual opening up of delivery of non-essential goods through E-commerce will help meet consumer needs, which include items that will enable them to work from home, stay in touch with others and also address the rising temperature across the country.”
The consequence of this has been that the retailers of IT and electronic products still are facing hardship as they are usually located in the market places. On the other hand, there are many small-scale retailers who sell online and also, many of these are also the offline retailers. These have been prohibited from making a living from E-commerce. Besides, many warehouse workers, delivery personnel, customer care personnel etc., who work in the online market place, are not able to make their ends meet because online platforms are shut except selling staple food and cleansing products. An already failing economy is in danger of becoming further eroded because of this prohibition on online platforms.
Recently a further development has taken place. BMW, Volkswagon, Honda and a horde of other cars have gone online to book orders. If online platforms remain shut, these will also suffer a setback.