India Post’s e-commerce portal aims to boost parcel business network

• India Post recently announced its full-fledged entry into the e-commerce space and intends to leverage its parcel business for end-to-end delivery of products.

• The newly-launched e-commerce portal of the Department of Posts (DoP) will provide an e-marketplace to sellers, especially rural artisans, self-help groups, women entrepreneurs and public sector units, to sell their products to buyers across the country.

• The small and local sellers, who have been left behind in the e-commerce space will now, by leveraging the vast physical and IT network of DoP, be able to maximise their reach and retailing power.

• Here are five things to know about this new initiative:

Products offered

• The portal currently offers a limited range of products, from clothing to cosmetics, from personal grooming appliances to bags and more.

• But as it gains traction, categories like tribal crafts and handloom products could grab eyeballs.

Delivery network

• Given that India Post boasts a massive delivery network spanning even remote villages through its 1.55 lakh post offices.

• The new portal – ecom.indiapost.gov.in – certainly enjoys enviable reach, unmatched even by the biggies in the business like Amazon and Walmart-back Flipkart.

Seller registration

• India Post is open for registration of all vendors for e-commerce business.

• It will pick up products from the vendor and deliver to the doorstep of customers.

• Registration of sellers on the portal is free for six months.

Product returns

• Not happy with your purchase from the portal? You have the choice to return it. “We will also facilitate the return of products service like it is available for customers on other e-commerce platforms.”

Delivery charges

• The DoP has reportedly set a separate parcel directorate, which will decide on the rates of parcel and other related issues keeping the competition in mind.

• Previously, any decision related to change in parcel delivery rates or matching services of private players required approval from top officials so the process was time-consuming.

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Prelims level: E-commerce Regulation in India

Mains level: Providing e-market place for various groups of entrepreneurs.

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