E-commerce firms’ orders swell as state govts declare partial or full lockdown; deliveries hit delays

With the country is gradually heading to a total lockdown in the wake of mounting positive coronavirus cases, the work load has increased manifold for e-commerce firms as people in large numbers have started depending on online firms for daily use commodities. The immediate impact of this is that there is a delay in deliveries.

E-commerce major Amazon has reportedly set aside a $25 million fund to help its delivery partners globally as the crisis created by COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit normal life, said a report in Business Insider.

As the coronavirus pandemic is spreading across the world, people are forced to stay at home to prevent further spread of the epidemic. This has resulted in an exponential growth in the number of online orders—a number of products are unavailable and deliveries are delayed, said the report.

 E-commerce firms’ orders swell as state govts declare partial or full lockdown; deliveries hit delays

Representational image. AP

To ensure there is no disruption of supply of essential commodities, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs had advised state governments and local administration to exempt e-commerce operations (warehouse and logistics facilities and services), wholesalers, their vendors and third party delivery partners who are part of the supply and logistic chain eco-system, from any type of prohibitory orders, reported PTI.

Accordingly, delivery agents from Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, Bigbasket, Grofers and others would be able to continue their services.

On 21 March, Flipkart said that e-commerce world over has been the lifeblood for cities under shutdown to fight against coronavirus while lauding the government move to exempt e-tailers from any order that restrict supply through them, reported PTI.

"We see that world over, e-commerce, powered by technology, has played a key role as a partner with the public authorities and has been the lifeblood for cities under shutdown to fight COVID-19," Flipkart spokesperson said in a statement.

Demand for hand sanitisers, masks

E-commerce companies have seen a jump in order across several categories in last several days and have run out of stock in some categories specially masks and hand sanitisers.

Amazon said that the ongoing coronavirus crisis has impacted its operation in the short-term and it is working to resolve it.

"In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories. You will also notice that some of our delivery promises are longer than usual. We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders," Amazon said in a blog post.

The company did not share any comment on the government move to exempt e-commerce for supply of essential items.

Amid increasing lock down across the country, Amazon and Flipkart last week announced drastic measures to keep the orders moving albeit slowly as panic buying continues, reported IANS.

According to Amazon, as COVID-19 has spread, it has seen an increase in people shopping online.

"In the short term, this is having an impact on how we serve our customers. In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories," the company said in a recent blog post.

A Flipkart spokesperson said that during these unprecedented times, they are not only making efforts to keep running its operations as normal as possible but also ensuring that its supply chain is extremely safe for them.

"We see demand in some categories increase and our teams are working relentlessly in partnership with our sellers to meet customer demand as people are increasingly following social distancing and are not stepping out of their homes," the e-tailer said in a statement, the IANS report said.

Early this month, Flipkart pledged to give delivery workers leave with full pay and benefits if they contract COVID-19 or are placed under quarantine.

Flipkart said it has made temperature screening using infra-red thermometers mandatory for all employees, vendors and visitors. Persons with suspected flu symptoms are advised to return home.

--With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2020 15:31:46 IST