NEW DELHI: Weeks after the relaxation of lockdown curbs and resumption of online deliveries, beyond essentials, Walmart-owned e-commerce store Flipkart has seen 90% of sellers return to the platform along with a 125% increase in new seller sign ups during April-June.
The increase in new sign-ups is driven by the shift made by MSME sellers across India who were forced to rethink their selling strategy after the lockdown disrupted much of the supply chain.
Most of the MSMEs signing up on Flipkart and taking their business online belong to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
These sellers deal in both essential product categories such as food and nutrition as well as non-essential products including women’s clothing, personal care and items of home improvement.
To help MSMEs stay afloat during the ongoing crisis, Flipkart came up with various schemes, including the health insurance plan for covid-19 which covered sellers, their families and employees. It has a coverage of ₹50,000 to ₹3,00,000 for an individual at discounted annual premiums starting at ₹369.
Flipkart also offered loans through their Growth Capital programme, providing sellers with credit at competitive interest rates with an approval time of one day and disbursal time of 48 hours.
Under the Flipkart Seller Protection Fund, online sellers could claim a certain amount as compensation for unfair losses incurred during lockdown.
In May, the government had announced an economic stimulus package for the MSME sector, offering collateral-free loans worth ₹3 lakh crore with a moratorium on the payment for the first 12 months.
Following the lockdown, several online platforms had started onboarding small sellers by helping them plan and sell their products. Shopify helped small retailers and shops by offering them tools to set local delivery areas and calculate optimal delivery routes. Some non e-commerce stores including PhonePe also added grocery delivery to their inventory.
In April, Flipkart's rival Amazon announced a ₹10 crore investment to expand its pilot programme 'Local shops on Amazon' which had 5,000 local stores and retailers in over 100 Indian cities selling grocery, electronics, kitchen appliances, apparel, furniture and toys.
Earlier this year, during his India visit Amazon boss Jeff Bezos had announced new investments of up to $1 billion to help small businesses move online.