- E-commerce players in India have resumed their operations but the deliveries will move in the slow lane and timings will be stretched.
India’s top online grocers and e-retailers said they’ve resumed operations in bigger cities but are still hobbled by the huge backlog of orders and shortages of staff caused by the ongoing nationwide lockdown to stem Covid-19’s tide.
E-grocers BigBasket and Grofers, e-commerce companies Amazon and Flipkart, as well as B2B platforms Jumbotail and Udaan warned customers and Kirana stores to expect delayed deliveries as they struggle with operational upheavals caused by constraints on the production and transportation of goods and people.
“Our count of people is improving every day … but that’s not enough yet. By Tuesday, Wednesday, we will clear up most slots, “said Hari Menon, chief executive of BigBasket, who is now delivering orders in all top cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Nonetheless, the company is selectively opening up new slots because of a backlog in orders and some operational problems, he said.
Gurugram-based Grofers, who had been unable to operate in many cities for a few days following the declaration of the lockdown, began operations at 90 percent of its warehouses with half of its supply partners fitted with all applicable official permits.
There’ll be “longer delivery times” for customers, Rohit Sharma, head of the Grofers supply chain, told ET.
Deliveries to customers — both online and in retail shops — have been delayed as plants closed and trucking firms faced stoppages at state borders, company executives said.
B2B technology platforms like Jumbotail and Udaan think that the disruption will settle as policymakers and companies partner within a few days.
To ease this situation, the home affairs ministry said in its updated guidelines on Sunday that all goods, and not just critical goods, will be permitted to be carried.
Ecommerce firms welcomed the reform, saying it would allow vital goods to move faster and allow them to safely carry non-essentials stuck in transit into their warehouses.
An ongoing market analysis of the availability of essential products across both offline and online stores by group network LocalCircles indicates a steady increase over the last two days.
Essential shortages were most serious on March 25 and 26, with substantial increases in supply in both Kiranas, offline outlets, and online retailers on March 27 and 28, the survey showed.
Ecommerce firms do tend to meet critical orders but delivery times remain stretched.
“We’re starting to slowly restore services, bringing in more cities as we get the requisite clearances and passes from local authorities. We are first servicing current orders for vital goods and then approve new orders for those things, “a spokesperson for Amazon told ET.
“The bottleneck is shifting from trucks into centers of fulfillment. It’s not perfect, but the government has been helpful, and we crawl back slowly, “the individual said. “I’m not going to tell back to normal, I don’t think it’s going to get back to normal in this period, but things are certainly moving.” Snapdeal, Paytm Mall and Shopclues also deliver importantly. “In Delhi-NCR, including in Gurugram, we began intracity deliveries of food and grocery products,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said.