Online grocers and marketplaces have started taking orders for essential goods in some cities but customers may need to wait a little longer than usual as e-commerce firms clear the backlog of orders.
Delivery time for online orders has also increased to a week as online retailers engage with local administration in various states to procure permissions to function during the 21-day lockdown. E-commerce firms began accepting new orders for groceries from customers on their websites earlier this morning, after shutting their platforms for most of Wednesday as they worked things out with local authorities.
Online grocery companies like BigBasket, Grofers, Amazon Pantry and Flipkart’s Supermart were able to resume deliveries as their services are limited in top cities. Deliveries of household essentials in smaller towns, however, may take much longer.
“It’s relatively easier for Grofers and BigBasket to bring their services back online since the bulk of their customers are in the large cities,” a senior executive of an e-commerce marketplace told ET. Customers of e-commerce marketplaces, however, are spread across the country and getting permissions from local authorities to service each and every one of them is taking time, the person said.
While some states and city administrations like those of Karnataka, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gurugram, Chandigarh and a few others have moved quickly to facilitate e-commerce deliveries, others are lagging behind. This is despite the March 24 order from the Ministry of Home Affairs exempting online deliveries of essential supplies from the nation-wide lockdown.
Even as doorstep delivery of food and grocery items has been agreed upon with various states, online marketplaces such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal are yet to persuade them to include items such as mobile phones, laptops and chargers which may be needed by consumers.
“Due to the current situation concerning Covid-19, we’re not accepting new orders,” read a statement on Flipkart’s website for categories such as smartphones, appliances, fashion. On Amazon, listings for products that are non-essential are not being shown to customers. Snapdeal said it is accepting orders for all products, but displaying delivery dates for non-essentials beyond April 15 for now.