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How Flipkart, Amazon, Big Basket and others are switching gears to provide essential services during Coronavirus lockdown

FE Online
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Coronavirus: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days starting Wednesday, the movement of people and goods has largely been restricted, with only essential goods and services being exempted from the curfew-like situation. While the country grapples with the threat of coronavirus-induced COVID-19, customers have started looking to e-commerce websites for their essential requirements. However, at a time as crucial and this and a population bas as huge as India's, the e-commerce industry is struggling to serve the customers and has started issuing statements clarifying the services available on their portals.

Amazon

One of the big four tech companies, Amazon carved itself a huge market in the Indian user base. In the middle of the global health emergency also, people have been turning to the e-commerce platform to meet their requirements. However, taking into consideration the need of the hour, Amazon has stopped the delivery of all non-essential products and is only offering products like hand washes, sanitizers, hygiene-related products and grocery essentials.

The platform is also offering books, but only in the digital format, so that users can read during the lockdown. When the Amazon website is logged on to, the message displayed on the top reads that the tech giant is prioritising all of its resources, including the manpower, into providing essential items and hence all other products are unavailable for purchase. The same has also been reiterated by the company in its official statement on its blog.

Flipkart

One of the biggest and most successful e-commerce startups in India, Flipkart has decided to temporarily suspend its services during the lockdown. A message on the homepage of its website reads that the suspension of services is only temporary and the company has further requested customers to stay at home during the health emergency.

Moreover, after a customer asked Flipkart on Twitter about his order worth Rs 18,000 which was still pending for delivery, the Flipkart support handle on Twitter wrote that the services are suspended at the moment, but the order will be supplied on priority once the lockdown has been lifted and starting operations is safe again.

Big Basket and Grofers

Grocery delivering app Big Basket had initially been sending out messages that the delivery slots are full and due to a surge in the orders, there could be a delay in the delivery or cancellation of the order altogether. Some poeple had also been taking to Twitter to inform that their orders from Big Basket are not reaching them to due to various logistical issues.

However, now the app displays a message saying that the deivery service is not operational dur to restrictions imposed by the local authorities even as the Centre exempted the movement of essential goods from the lockdown. The delivery service further said that they will resume operations once they get the issue resolved in tandem with the local authorities.

Similar is the situation of Grofers, which wrote on its official Twitter handle that there is some ambiguity regarding the listing of Grofers as an essential service and said they are clarifying with the local authorities. For now, they have halted their operations due to the lack of clarity.

DMart

DMart has written on its website that while it has adequate stocks, it does not have enough personnel to deliver the goods to the number of people placing orders. As a result, their delivery slots are full. They further wrote that they are working to increase the number of slots.

Big Bazaar

Meanwhile, Big Bazaar has started offering doorstep delivery service during the emergency situation, so that people do not need to go outside their houses. The service has so far commenced in select cities and the retail giant gave out the numbers of retail stores on which the customers can call to place their orders, since the group does not have any site or mobile application for online ordering. However, Big Bazaar recently tweeted that they have received unprecedented orders for doorstep delivery and therefore orders are getting delayed.