Indian Online Delivery Services Halted
Indian online delivery firms halted its services as a country-wide lockdown began in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Indian firms that use online technology including Amazon’s Pantry temporarily suspended their services and has not provided date of resumption.
Bengaluru-based Flipkart followed its rival Amazon.com Inc, India unit on its decision to limit its services to essential products only. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting midnight on Tuesday. Amazon’s pantry grocery delivery service was unavailable across several cities on Wednesday.
Walmart Inc’s Flipkart’s services include grocery deliveries, with both a website and mobile app for online ordering. A notice on their site and app said “our promise is that we will be back to serve you, as soon as possible”.
Online Retailing as an Option for Consumers during Lockdown
Consumers across the world have turned to modern technology online retailers such as Indian online delivery services. Food, household goods and medicines were made available for door to door delivery as a measure to contain the virus.
The government advised online deliveries of essential goods such as food and medicines be exempt; however, this has caused confusion. The message has not filtered down to the lockdown enforcers in India.
An incident involving a company delivery executive, carrying medicines was baton-charged by policemen in a New Delhi neighborhood. As they tried to disperse people, at least three others have been prevented from delivering products to customers.
Ananth Narayanan, the chief executive officer of online healthcare platform Medlife said “you have to enforce the lockdown with empathy”. “I don’t think you need to be brutal”, he added. He also said “when somebody gets beaten up, it’s very difficult to get other people to come to work”.
Other Indian Online Delivery Firms that were Impacted
Big Basket, the Alibaba-backed online grocer said its Indian online delivery services had been impacted. They are working with the local authorities for the necessary passes and permits to allow movement of personnel and vehicles.
Moreover, Gofer, the SoftBank-backed online grocer had opened a warehouse near New Delhi but was locked down by law enforcement. Albinder Dhindsa, SoftBank’s CEO said in a tweet, that they were working to resume supplies within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, in more technology news, Flipkart shuttered operations while Amazon limited orders for 1.3 billion Indians under lockdown. Chief corporate affairs officer Rajneesh Kumar said they are reviewing “the possibilities of operating in the lockdown”. “We’re prioritizing the safety of our delivery executives and seeking the support of local governments and police authorities”, he added. This is in an effort to meet the needs of their customers.
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