eCommerce under lockdown explained

From the commencement of the national lockdown, no meaningful distinction was made between online shopping and physical retailers in terms of purchasing options. If you couldn’t buy a new pair of headphones from your local mall to thoroughly enjoy the morning exercise window to the fullest, you wouldn’t have had the option to get access to your jogging tunes via online sales either.

Retailers were prohibited from selling goods under Alert Level 4 unless such goods qualified as permitted goods.  A list of such permitted goods is laid out in section E of Table 1 of the Regulations published on 29 April 2020, prescribing what may and may not be sold under Alert Level 4. However, this list is still fairly limited with various goods still not being available for sale to the general public.

Since the middle of May however, this position has changed. Drastically.

Directions allowing for e-Commerce sales during Alert Level 4 of the COVID-19 National State of Disaster were published on 14 May 2020. Loosely speaking these Directions allow for the sale of all goods through e-Commerce channels (with the exception of the sale of liquor and cigarettes).

So, what does this mean for your business?

Except for liquor and cigarettes, even if you were not allowed to trade under Level 4, you may now commence trade of all products if you can operate under the e-Commerce Directions.

Changing your business model to an e-Commerce business may not be something you anticipated as a short term goal. But with these e-Commerce Directions offering you lemons, it might just be the right time to recalibrate those short term goals and make lemonade (and then sell that lemonade online).

In essence it comes down to the following:
  • You need an e-Commerce process to sell your goods; and
  • You need to get your good delivered.

It is important to note that delivery does not necessarily mean appointing a courier – delivery may also mean that your employees deliver goods to local customers.

We are fully geared to assist clients with the set up of a legitimate e-Commerce process complying with the Directions. This includes advice on the process to be followed to qualify as an “e-Commerce process” under the new Directions and preparing the necessary terms and conditions and contracts with customers and third party service providers. Furthermore, we also assist with advice on the internal requirements to operate safely and in compliance with the Directions as it is of paramount importance that your internal policies ensure compliance at all times.

Contact us if you need to get ready for e-Commerce under lockdown!

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