The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has partnered with trader body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to set up an ecommerce platform to digitise physical stores during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The platform will enable domestic manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to take orders online and fulfill them through contactless delivery, according to a statement.
Government programme Startup India, industry body All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation and early-to-growth stage investor Avaana Capital are also part of this initiative, it said.
Additionally, startups and individuals have been invited to propose “readily deployable solutions” to digitise kirana stores for direct-to-consumer delivery. The ideas can include solutions for sectors such as ecommerce, logistics, supply chain and software-as-a-service (SaaS), the statement said.
During the lockdown, ecommerce companies can only deliver essential goods, such as fresh produce, groceries, milk, food and medicines. Although the government planned to allow all ecommerce shipments post April 21 in regions with no reported Covid-19 cases, it reinstated the restrictions on April 19.
Apart from the dip in business due to the national lockdown, restriction on supply of non-essential goods has also led to a steep fall in the gross merchandise value (GMV) for ecommerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart. GMV is a measure of the total value of goods sold over a period of time by an ecommerce platform. Non-essential categories of goods include apparel, electrical appliances, mobiles and laptops, which account for over 70% of any ecommerce platform’s GMV.
From March 24, since the lockdown was announced, utilities have accounted for 72% of shopping on ecommerce portals, according to a report by Capgemini.
While grocery delivery platforms gained traction, broken supply chains and restricted movement have led to a dip in online payments by 54% in the segment, according to a report by financial solution and transaction processing platform Razorpay, which shared data for the 30-day period since the national lockdown was announced.
On Thursday, Amazon India announced that it had earmarked Rs 10 crore to onboard local kirana stores through its Local Shops programme. So far, the ecommerce platform has onboarded over 5,000 stores, it said.