The country’s largest e-commerce player Flipkart is likely to work along with its sellers to absorb any increase in end price for customers once the GST kicks in from July.
The e-commerce company is actively working with its sellers and other stakeholders rolling out several initiatives ahead of the GST implementation. “We are taking it very, very seriously and are putting all the pieces together so that the sellers and other stakeholders have it very easy when the GST sets in,” Anil Goteti, Head, Marketplace for Flipkart told BusinessLine. He said the company has been meticulously planning for the last several months to prepare for the GST.
He said the company is making use of technology to automate all the processes that might come up during the actual implementation so that there is very less human intervention.
Uploading of VAT, GST no and invoices are all being put through the automation to make it easier for the sellers to navigate through the maze of GST taxation. The company is also in talks with GST network so that it is a pioneer of sorts in the implementation of GST.
It is also hand-holding the sellers and has unveiled a GST ‘genie’ programme with experts on call and has even rolled out tuition videos so that the sellers can learn from them. A set of chartered accountants have also been roped in to give tailored advice to traders. Kiosks and cafes are being set up to address any specific issues concerning the GST. “We are tying up all the ends. Sellers are our partners and we want them to have enough tools and the systems in place so that there are no hitches,” Goteti said.
These systems are also being tested with the government agencies so that the company is able to iron out any issues before the GST comes into play. He also said that over a period of time, there will be benefits for the sellers as well as the consumers. He said in case the prices don’t come down across the value chain, and the rates are high, it is up to the sellers to take a call on the end price.
But he pointed out that cost pressures could happen during the initial stages but eventually it will benefit everyone. The only issue that could come up once the GST is implemented will be with regard to withholding of some amount of revenues for the sellers which they will eventually get it later.
Flipkart has also launched a special support called CareTouch programme for its top category sellers who are assigned a single entity to get all their issues resolved. Even the shipping costs have been reduced considerably for them.