Amazon India announces measures to help SMBs amid second wave of COVID-19
Ecommerce major Amazon India announced that it is waiving 50 percent of the 'sell-on-amazon' or 'referral fee' from May 1 to 31 for a section of sellers and will reimburse storage fees and long-term storage fees charged for keeping sellers' products at its warehouses for merchants based out of non-serviceable pin codes. Amazon India has over 8.5 lakh sellers on its platform.
"We understand this situation is impacting small and medium businesses (SMBs) the most, and we are taking a host of measures to help our sellers navigate the economic challenges caused by the pandemic," Amazon India Vice President Manish Tiwary said in a blog post.
It is temporarily relaxing the claim windows for various types of reimbursements that the sellers file for 30 days, the ecommerce firm said.
The company said it is also taking steps across the board to mitigate any negative impact on sellers' performance metrics due to defaults caused by the pandemic and the resulting restrictions, on the sellers' account health.
"We are also working to relax our policies regarding late shipment rate, order cancellation and returns to better support our sellers during this period," the blog said.
The second wave of COVID-19 and rising cases daily has stretched the healthcare infrastructure of the country. Many states have announced lockdowns and curfews to tackle the situation, impacting businesses. Most states have allowed ecommerce companies to operate and allowed delivery of only essential items like groceries and medicines.
In its SMB Impact Report 2020, Amazon India had noted that it works with more than 10 lakh small and mid-size business (SMBs) including sellers, delivery and logistics partners, neighbourhood stores, enterprises, developers, content creators and authors in the country.
During Amazon Smbhav Summit 2021, the company also announced a $250 million (around Rs 1,873 crore) fund that will focus on digitising small and medium businesses and drive innovation in the areas of agritech and healthtech. A special initiative called Spotlight North East was also announced to boost the local economy, create jobs, and accelerate financial inclusion and empowerment of women and the tribal community across the North-East region of India.
The programme aims to bring the benefits of ecommerce to 50,000 weavers, artisans, tribal communities, and local small businesses.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)