Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a country-wide lockdown for 21 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. This extended lockdown has got citizens scuffling for groceries, and hunting for online resources to stock up on essentials and prepare for the next three weeks. While the government asserts that essential goods will be available during the lockdown, the situation with e-commerce deliveries is less than ideal. Flipkart has completely suspended operations, and Grofers app displays a vague “We'll be back shortly” on its homepage.
Ever since the PM Modi's Janta Curfew address to the nation last week, people have been facing issues with online shopping, and in even getting food items delivered to their addresses. We reported that several apps like Amazon, Grofers, and Big Basket have all been showing products as out of stock or undeliverable, and there's constant unavailability of delivery slots.
Now after the countrywide lockdown announcement, e-commerce platforms have issued statements to offer clarity on their services to the customers. These companies are warning users of delayed deliveries, citing warehouse shutdowns, and local borders being sealed. We compile a list of what e-commerce giants are saying right now.
Amazon notes that it is complying with the government's order, and is only prioritising deliveries of essential goods. In a statement on its site, the company says, “To serve customers' most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our associates, we are prioritising all our resources to serve products that are currently high priority for customers. Other products are temporarily unavailable for purchase.”
Customers who have already placed an order for non-essential products are now being informed of delayed delivery.
“Thank you for placing an order on Amazon. There is increased demand for high priority products as customers stay home to comply with social distancing. Additionally, several local and regional lockdowns are impacting our capability to deliver in time. This has resulted in longer than usual time to deliver your order. We request your patience as our team is working on serving customers in these challenging times,” an email from the e-retailer reads.
The company is trying hard to enable essential goods delivery seamlessly. Global Senior VP and Country Head for Amazon India, Amit Agarwal says in a tweet, “Our top priority has to be to flatten the curve. Thanks to the central govt for recognizing e-commerce is rendering an essential service to help citizens remain at home, maintain social distancing. We sincerely appeal to local authorities to enable us provide sustained service.”
The e-commerce giant has suspended its services entirely. Its homepage now reads:
We are temporarily suspending our services. Your needs have always been our priority, and our promise is that we will be back to serve you, as soon as possible. These are difficult times, times like no other! Never before, have communities stayed apart to stay safe! Never before, has being at home meant helping the nation! We urge you to Stay Home to Stay Safe! We will get there. And we will get through. Together.
For all customers who have already placed the order, and are awaiting deliveries, Flipkart's Support Twitter handle notes, “Due to nationwide lockdown because of COVID-19, order deliveries and installation services have been paused. Your order is our priority, and we are trying our best to serve you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and support.”
The online grocery store has also halted operations for now. The message on its app reads, “Dear customer, we are not operational due to restrictions imposed by local authorities on the movement of goods in spite of clear guidelines provided by central authorities to enable essential services. We are working with the authorities to be back soon.”
On Twitter, the company has issued a statement, “We certainly understand your concern. We'd like to inform you that, due to a sudden surge in orders, few orders might get delayed or cancelled. Hope you understand! We are truly sorry to have disappointed you. Kindly DM us your registered details. We'll do our best to help you.”
Many users who placed orders previously are reporting of orders stuck in transit.
The online grocery platform is also reporting of operational challenges.
“We know how important it is for you to get your essential groceries delivered on time. We are currently facing operational challenges due to a lack of clarity in our listing as an essential service provider. We are working around the clock with respected authorities to resolve this so that you don't face any inconvenience. Thank you for your patience and your support,” the company said in a tweet.
At the time of writing, the app was completely down. “We will be back shortly,” the app and website currently reads.
While Nature's Basket claims that retail stores will remain operational, the app claims that delivery slots are full.
“We would like to inform you that all our delivery slots are full. We are fully stocked but are currently experiencing a shortage of manpower to service the high demand. There might be a delay in delivering your order. Please be assured we are working towards fulfilling all the orders. Request you to kindly allow us some time. We hope to receive your support and cooperation,” the app reads.
The hypermarket's app claims that all delivery slots are taken for now. “Our slots are fully booked. Dear Customer, our slots are fully booked. We have adequate stocks but not enough staff to serve the high demand. Please bear with us as we work hard to add more slots. Kindly check back in a couple of days,” the site reads.
Xiaomi's online portal is also not accepting orders. “We'll notify you when their stocks arrive.” Realme.com notes that deliveries will be affected. “In view of the lockdown to fight corona, the delivery of the order may be affected. Apologies for the inconvenience caused.”
As for Big Bazaar, it is offering doorstep delivery in several cities across India, and has shared numbers of nearby retail stores for customers to place orders via phone calls. The store will then deliver these goods at the customer's residence, and take cash for the delivery. Big Bazaar doesn't offer an app or site for ordering, but doorstep delivery is still an option for those who are unsuccessful in finding essential items elsewhere. However, Big Bazaar has recently tweeted that they have received an unprecedented amount of requests for doorstep delivery, and there could be delays due to restriction of movement.