After the government's decision to allow non-essential items sale on e-commerce platforms from April 20, Flipkart and Amazon have announced several measures to empower lakhs of sellers and SMBs on their marketplaces, as they began the exercise to chart the best route for resuming full operations. Flipkart of Friday announced a three-month moratorium on existing loans, special offers on its growth capital programme and constant counsel and on-ground support for nearly 2 lakh sellers on its platform before resuming operations.
The etailer said that the seller support team is providing constant counsel and on-ground support to sellers on its platform to help them resume operations in a few days and help consumers in this time of need as they continue to stay indoors.
"The analytics teams are supporting sellers with market intelligence to ensure smooth listings on the platforms. Also, the supply chain team continues to maintain an intense focus on safety and health procedures in all Flipkart facilities and staff that will support the movement of goods for sellers," the company said in a statement. Flipkart has provided its sellers with the flexibility of choosing to work or not work during the lockdown period, without any concerns of their performance metrics being hampered.
The company has also waived off the storage fee for April, under its ‘Fulfilled by Flipkart' service that allows sellers to store their inventory in Flipkart Fulfillment Centers for faster deliveries. All the payments related to cancelled orders in the lockdown period are underway and are being settled in the upcoming payment cycles, the company informed.
"Also, sellers do not have to wait for 60 days from the date of the return request to raise an SPF claim, and can raise it as soon as the lockdown lifts and the company fully resume its operations," said the detailed. During the first 21 days of the lockdown, e-commerce platforms were allowed to sell only essential goods such as food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
As restrictions on certain economic activities will be lifted to some extent starting April 20, e-commerce majors would be able to sell mobile phones and electronic items, including refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners, coolers along with stationery items. In a blog post late Thursday, Gopal Pillai, VP, Seller Services, Amazon India, said the company stands with its seller partners to help them navigate the economic challenges that have arisen from the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon has more than 6 lakh sellers and a significant number of these sellers include micro-entrepreneurs as well as small and medium businesses as well as women sellers, artisans and weavers and many more.
"To help the micro-entrepreneurs and other SMBs with their cash flow, we are waiving off 50 per cent of the Selling on Amazon (SoA) or the ‘referral fee' till June 30. This initiative stands to benefit tens of thousands of sellers on Amazon.in," Pillai said. This is a fee that all sellers pay for selling their products on Amazon, which is a percentage of the total sales price that is paid by the buyer.
"The SOA fees vary for different categories but is applicable for all sellers. This waiver will apply to all sellers whose average GMS (Gross Merchandise Sales) for the Jan and Feb 2020 was Rs 10,000 and below," added Pillai. Amazon said it is waiving off storage fees for all products at its Fulfillment centres till April 30. "As we prioritize delivering high priority products to our customers including food, groceries, medicine and healthcare items, we have had to cancel orders containing lower priority items.
To help reduce the impact of these cancellations on our seller partners, we are refunding of all fulfilment and referral fees," informed Amazon. Amazon said it is temporarily relaxing claim windows for different types of reimbursements that its seller partners file for. "This has been done to ensure that reimbursement claims are not denied if they miss the regular claim windows due to the disruption caused by COVID 19," the company said.