After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal not to get into panic buying or hoarding owing to the coronavirus pandemic, leading online grocery platforms Bigbasket and Grofers on Friday requested customers to restrain from excessive buying or placing multiple orders.
Bigbasket saw its online traffic and revenue grow two times and basket value increase by 15-20 per cent in the last three days as people went into frantic buying of daily use staples like atta, dal and vegetables.
Several users reported essential items immediately going out of stock for certain hours during the last three days on both Bigbasket and Grofers (Grofers has seen a 45 per cent rise in orders as well as 18 per cent hike in order value).
"Although we faced some disruption in the last 3 days, we have taken corrective action and have geared up for supplies to meet the increased demand. Increased demand is in essentials such as staples, atta and dal, fruits and vegetables. We are in control because the predominant share is from our private label products," a Bigbasket spokesperson told IANS.
The company said it is not facing shortages in FMCG-branded products, except in the case of sanitisers.
"We will face some constraints for a few more days because it takes time to build capacity in terms of storage, delivery fleet and people. Our teams are working hard to streamline this and we will be back on track very soon," said the Bigbasket spokesperson.
Addressing the nation on Thursday, Modi promised adequate availability of essential items and services, including medicines, healthcare, milk and food. He urged the citizens against panic and hoarding of essential items.
Albinder Dhindsa, co-founder and CEO, Grofers, told IANS that the company is taking a hard approach to hoarding of essential commodities.
"A lot of people are trying to game the system to acquire items and Grofers is working proactively to block them and make sure essential supplies are available to all our genuine customers," said Dhindsa.
"Promotions for essential commodities are being discontinued as well. Excessive buying or multiple orders to bypass inventory limits can lead to order cancellations on the platform," he added.
Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad have seen a higher surge with nearly 80 per cent growth followed by Delhi-NCR and Hyderabad at a 60 per cent spike in business.
Grofers said it is closely working with additional manufacturing partners to scale up the supply basis demand, while requesting customers to opt for considerate shopping so that shelves remain stocked for everyone.