With malls, shops, commercial establishments and retail stores being shut amid the growing coronavirus scare in India, e-commerce and online grocery players like Amazon and Flipkart have announced drastic measures to keep the orders moving albeit slowly as panic buying continues.
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.
"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," it added.
With people not wanting to step out, orders from online grocery players like Bigbasket and SuprDaily have soared, as a result of which, these e-grocers are scrambling to fulfil these orders.
Bigbasket said although there was some disruption in the last 3 days in the supply chain, corrective action has been taken and they have geared up for supplies to meet the increased demand. “Increased demand is in essentials such as staples, atta & dal, fruits and vegetables, we are in control because the predominant share is from our private label products. We are not facing shortages in FMCG branded products except in the case of sanitisers. In effect, supply will not be an issue,” the company said in a statement.
On delivery delays, the company added that there will be 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.”
While Bigbasket has said it have not witnessed any hoarding of food stuff so far, it has advised customers not to panic and buy more than what they need. “We will gear up for the increased demand and availability of products will not be an issue,” the company stressed.
Meanwhile, Supr Daily, a daily grocery delivery service, said it is continuing to serve customers, on a daily basis, despite surge in orders.
Supr Daily lets customers order by 11 pm for delivery by 7 am the next morning, with no minimum order. But, with the ongoing crisis, Supr Daily has extended its delivery time till 9 am, the company said in a statement.
“We are grateful to the backbone of our fulfilment network – our delivery executives, warehouse staff and customer care executives. Their customer-oriented outlook and willingness to elevate their efforts to keep numerous households running as usual amid the COVID-19 crisis is truly inspiring. For us, our field staff across the network are the real Supr Heroes,” said Puneet Kumar, Founder & CEO, Supr Daily.
Supr Daily’s delivery associates are stepping up in numbers to ensure there is no lack of grocery supplies while practicing social distancing, as indicated by the government.
“Our customers need us today more than ever. If we don’t deliver, they will have to go out to buy groceries and stores are crowded. All of us are working hard to ensure orders are delivered so customers have the groceries they require,” said Deepak Chaurasiya, a delivery partner.
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.
Shutting down of malls, private offices, shops and commercial establishments in many parts of the country is going to put extra pressure on the e-tailers to fulfil orders. This comes at a time when gated communities in several parts of the country have restricted delivery boys' entry into the premises and have asked the owners to take orders only at main entrances.
"We're working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items," Amazon added.
Online meat and seafood store Licious said, “We have been noticing a steady growth in our order numbers as well as the average order value (AOV) per customers; this has led to a 30% w-o-w surge in revenue.”
Licious has also said that it has deployed technology to predict demand and supply patterns and leverage the data to increase the overall supply chain efficiency. Technology has been playing a very significant role in predicting demand, ensuring availability and fulfilling orders over the last month, the company said.
“Our business operates on a farm-to-fork model and hence it is crucial that we continue our support to the livestock farmer & fishermen community, during this period.” While being committed to ensuring business continuity for the farming community, Licious said they are buying raw products at the standard cost and not the current plummeted market price, and also accelerating the payment process at their end.
As far as stocking up on essentials is concerned, the company said, “We are a fresh meat and seafood business, we never stock up or freeze products. Our robust supply chain is what keeps us going and nothing has changed in that regard.”
With IANS inputs