Electronics firms resume talks with e-retailers to deliver goods from next week

Companies expect demand for products with bigger screens to rise as households continue to work from home.  (Photo: Pardeep Gaur/Mint)

Electronics companies and appliance makers have resumed conversations with third-party online marketplaces to start delivery of mobile phones, laptops, cooling devices next week, after the home ministry paved the way for sales of non-essential goods online.

This comes as e-commerce companies now hope to open up inventory across different categories starting 20 April.

Several retailers and makers of mobile phones, tablets, television sets, cooling products and small home appliances said they are in talks with platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart to begin sales online next week.

Electronic goods retailer Croma said it has begun planning sales on its website and third-party marketplaces. Croma will resume sales of its private labels such as television sets and mobile accessories, said Ritesh Ghosal, chief of marketing and insights at Infiniti Retail.

Firms could also offer discounts as they move to liquidate piled-up inventory. Some companies and retailers said they have inventory from pre-lockdown days that should be sufficient to meet any immediate demand for electronics.

Panasonic India said it hopes to get permission to start manufacturing at its facility in Haryana. “As our factory in Jhajhar, Haryana, is in the green zone, we hope to get the permission to start manufacturing soon. Summer is here and while we have enough inventory of ACs and refrigerators to meet consumer demand, we would like to start operations to ensure sustainability over longer term,” said Manish Sharma, president and CEO of Panasonic India.

Paytm Mall said it will resume sales of non-essentials from 21 April. “We are speaking to brands and our merchant partners so that they can go live with all categories on Paytm Mall,” said Srinivas Mothey, senior vice president of Paytm Mall.

On Wednesday, the home ministry allowed select commercial establishments to function till 3 May, listing e-commerce companies with print and electronic media, IT and IT-enabled services, courier services, cold storage and warehouse services.

Companies expect demand for electronics goods such as tablets, laptops, computers, and mobile phones with bigger screens to go up as households continue to work from home and schools resume online learning. India has also entered the summer season, which will see a surge in demand for cooling products.

Xiaomi India said it is “discussing details with all our partners and evaluating. We will be able to share an update at a later stage on receiving complete clarity”. A company spokesperson said its manufacturing partners were evaluating all aspects of resuming production after 20 April.

Among e-commerce firms, Flipkart is preparing to resume sales in most categories from next week and is interacting with its seller base to ensure they have permits to operate easily, a person familiar with the development said.

Fashion retailer Myntra, owned by Flipkart, also aims to restart operations. “We are working with lakhs of sellers, small businesses and artisans across India and helping them prepare their business and workforce to make products available for consumers in this time of need as they continue to stay indoors. Our seller support team is providing counsel and on-ground support to sellers on our platform to help them resume operations in a few days,” said a Flipkart Group spokesperson.

Snapdeal, which has been taking orders during the lockdown and suggested delivery dates to consumers after the lockdown is lifted, aims to cater to existing orders once e-commerce operations resume. “We are preparing to scale up operations to meet the requirements of our users, both buyers and sellers,” said a Snapdeal spokesperson.

E-commerce companies said supply will be tight in the first few days, as they move towards gaining more clarity with their on-ground sellers and distribution centres.

“Nearly 50% of the sellers will be in a position to resume operations and more are likely to follow the lead after assessing the local situation in their respective areas,” said Snapdeal.

[source: livemint]

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