Several online retailers, who were present in Wednesday’s meeting with the DPIIT and the department of consumer affairs, said they have begun informing sellers about this requirement and are assessing their technology platforms to create the option of ‘country of origin’ during new product listings.
DPIIT wants online retailers to display ‘country of origin’ on products sold on their platforms from 1 August, and for legacy listings by September; to which it faced a push back from the retailers for the short deadline.
“We have started the process of seller awareness to start mentioning ‘country of origin’ for all the products they sell through our platform. Our platform currently does not have this feature. We have started the IT feasibility study and are trying to ascertain the estimated timeline for development to support this feature on our platform," said Vivek Tiwari, chief executive and founder, Medikabazaar, which sells medical supplies and equipment. Though Snapdeal has started mentioning country listings a while ago, it plans to send specific communications to sellers next week to re-focus on this requirement, a spokesperson said.
Two employees of Paytm Mall confirmed a communication around ‘country of origin’ was sent to sellers when discussions with DPIIT had begun. Now Paytm Mall is asking sellers to add product ID and country of origin as part of new listings on the platform.
Flipkart is yet to inform its sellers as the e-commerce giant awaits further clarity from the government.
“For Flipkart and Amazon, it is not tough to execute this request from DPIIT, at least for newer listings. However, owing to the lack of clarity on what the government means by ‘country of origin’, Flipkart has not started work on this. Also, looking at the total listings, as well as the current scenario with employees working out of home, this could take at least one month," said an e-commerce executive, who didn’t want to be named.
Flipkart and Amazon didn’t respond to Mint’s queries.
Myntra has also been begun collecting information from sellers on the country of manufacturing for fashion and apparel. However, this was independent of DPIIT’s move and was targeted to understand the demographic of products on its platform.
“This move is extremely challenging, and the government has to backtrack to understand the retail chain and clarify on who has the ownership of putting the tag. It is usually the brand or the trade label, and the final seller shouldn’t be punished for this. The government also needs to clarify on ‘country of origin’, what happens if a product is assembled in India," said Ankur Bisen, senior vice president, retail and consumer, at management consulting firm Technopak.