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Non-essential etailers hold horses, Retail News, ET Retail

Covid-19 Impact: Non-essential etailers hold horsesBengaluru: Sellers on e-commerce marketplaces are wary about products finding buyers as leading e-tailers Amazon and Flipkart have yet to provide clarity on demand despite a government directive allowing sale of non-essential items after April 20. Flipkart has notified sellers via email that they should prepare to start processing and dispatching orders, while Amazon has told them that it was awaiting clarity on the revised government guidelines. “For us, the buck stops at how Flipkart and Amazon react to the government orders and what they end up prioritizing,” said the seller of a hygiene brand.

“For example, on the same MHA guidelines, Flipkart interpreted it as sales can begin from April 20 Amazon said they seek clarity. This makes our business decisions very uncertain because more than 80% of our sales are driven by these platforms,” he added. Another seller echoed the same views, telling ET that Amazon had him not make heavy investments on inventory till at least May 15. “They are unsure about demand, and their own potential to service demand as well,” said an executive at a consumer products brand.

On Wednesday, ET reported that Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm Mall were preparing to resume full operations from April 20, after the home ministry revised guidelines allowing ecommerce to function in its entirety. Amazon has, however, sought clarification on whether it can sell non-essentials. Marketplaces have said they expect demand through work-from-home essentials, such as small electronics, apart from smartphones, laptops, home appliances and personal care items.

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