Written By Alnoor Peermohamed, ETtech
More sellers are signing up on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Snapdeal, anticipating recovery in offline demand to take longer in view of the nationwide lockdown being extended to May 3.
The government said e-commerce platforms would be allowed to sell both essential and non-essential items starting April 20.
There has been a spike in the number of signups and queries from new sellers in the run-up to and during the lockdown that began from March 24, the online retailers told ET.
“We now have 6 lakh sellers on our marketplace, up from 5.5 lakh in mid-Jan. The new seller registration run rate continues to be robust, with thousands of new sellers registering on our marketplace three weeks into the lockdown,” said an Amazon spokesperson.
Snapdeal also said it had deployed teams to assist new sellers in signing up on its platform, with large business centres such as Ludhiana, Surat and Salem seeing an increased number of signups.
“We are indeed seeing a spike in the number of seller queries with regard to the resumption of business and also new registrations. The government’s announcement of allowing business across all categories is providing independent sellers an accelerated and safe channel to resume their business operations,” said Rajnish Wahi, senior vice president – corporate affairs and communications at Snapdeal.
Walmart-owned Flipkart declined to comment.
A source in the company, however, said it was still too early to determine if there had been an increase in new seller signups.
Industry experts said this could be a stop-gap arrangement for sellers to kickstart businesses immediately.
“The fact is that small businesses are really cash-strapped and if they have to pay salaries to their employees, then they need to earn money,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of retail consulting firm Third Eyesight. “The motivator for these businesses seems to be that they have inventories and e-commerce is a good way to get to the customer who is unable to get out.”