Flipkart Suspends Service, Amazon Only Delivering Essential Goods Amidst Coronavirus Lockdown
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As the country braces for a 21-day lockdown to prevent coronavirus from spreading, e-commerce giant Flipkart has announced temporary suspension of its services. In a notice on their website, the e-commerce giant said, “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.”
Its rival company, Amazon has announced to deliver only high-priority products, while temporarily suspending orders of all other items, effective 24 March. The company, in a blogspot, said that while a large number of districts and states are imposing lockdown, it is witnessing an increased demand for priority products and important services. So, it has prioritised available resources to serve only essential items while also ensuring safety of their delivery partners.
“To serve our customers’ most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our employees, we are temporarily prioritizing our available fulfilment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for our customers,” the blogspot stated.
Household staples, packaged food and health care, hygiene and personal safety products qualify as critical products, according to the company’s statement. As for pending orders of low-priority products, customers are given a choice to cancel and get a full refund for prepaid items.
The blogspot statement added that the company will remain focused on delivering supplies to the doorsteps to the people in India, especially to those most vulnerable, like the elderly or those without access. Earlier this week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had issued a statement reiterating the critical role e-commerce is playing in the ongoing coronavirus crisis by delivering essential goods to people in need. He added that the company is hiring for 1 lakh new roles along with raising wages of hourly workers who are working at this crucial time.
As per guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs on what will remain operational during the 21 day lockdown in India, delivery of essential goods—food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment—through e-commerce will be allowed.
On Tuesday, multiple media reports and personal accounts of business owners reported that online grocery delivery and e-commerce were being disrupted due to the lockdown. Albinder Dhindsa, co-founder and CEO, grofers, an online grocery platform, had tweeted that their company’s warehouse in Faridabad, Haryana was closed down by local law enforcement forces. “While we understand they are doing their duty, essential items will be denied to 20,000+ households in Faridabad and Delhi every day. We need help in sorting this out,” he said.
Online delivery companies are reportedly seeing a multifold surge in orders as the country has been put under a lockdown with all offices, factories and markets closed down, barring a few essential services, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.