With no set timeline in place for the launch of Draft National Ecommerce Policy issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the government is further expanding its scope. A media report on Monday said that the government is looking to incentivise kiranas willing to integrate their operations on the ecommerce platform.
The report added that the incentives could be in the form of interest subventions on loans required for the switchover or as one time grant. The policy is also likely to encourage existing ecommerce players to join local stores on their formats and facilitate their sales.
The report added that ecommerce companies would be asked to put full details of sellers on their marketplace so that buyers can make informed decisions and even look to use products sold on the platform by nearby shops for swift delivery and service.
In November 2019, commerce minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting to understand the business model of ecommerce — accounting, investment pipeline and future inclusion of kirana stores.
Several technology companies and ecommerce entities, including Facebook, Walmart and Amazon, have offered to provide necessary technologies that would help kiranas integrate with ecommerce platforms. Trade bodies have also launched various initiatives for this switchover that also requires small store owners to get the necessary skills to handle online sales.
For ecommerce platforms, getting kirana stores onboard is seen as a way to enhance performance and last-mile delivery. Therefore pushing for their inclusion might not be a difficult task for the government.
Moreover, with emerging trends and new players — both in retail chains and digital portals — kirana stores are ready to adopt better technologies and methods to get their fair shares of the market.
With over 12 Mn kirana stores across hyperlocal areas, almost every major ecommerce platform Myntra, Walmart, Flipkart, Reliance, Grofers and Big basket have started working with unorganised retail shops to penetrate deeper into the Indian market.
DPIIT had released the draft ecommerce policy back in early 2019, since then there have been several additions to the draft. Under the draft policy, the government has also included certain provisions like data localisation, selling of counterfeit products and compliance with FDA rules and regulations.