A steep surge in orders and inability of the firms' to service them due to the lockdown has led many to suspend operations.
Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce giant owned by Walmart has said on its website that it’s temporarily suspended its services. Similar messages were seen on the websites of online grocery delivery firms BigBasket and Grofers. Amazon India said it’s halting all non-essential sales at the moment.
Prime Minister Modi, in a public address, had ordered the country to go under lockdown for 21 days starting from Tuesday (March 25, 2020) to combat the spread of COVID - 19 while several Indian states had already initiated lockdown as a preventive measure.
According to Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines, ‘delivery of essential goods including food, pharmaceutical, medical equipment through e-commerce’ was on the list of exempted services during the 21-day lockdown.
Flipkart in a notice on its website didn’t mention for how long it’s suspending services and promised it will be back as soon as possible.
Amazon India on its website said it's prioritizing essential products over everything else.
Grofers, an online grocery delivery giant had a simple "We will be back shortly" message on its website while asking people to click on a button below the message to get notified when it is back.
On Twitter, it said it is working on restarting its operations.
Similarly, BigBasket, another online grocery delivery firm said on its website, “We’ll be back soon!’.
On Twitter, it mentioned that it wasn’t able to operate due to impositions by local authorities despite clear guidelines from the central government.
After Modi’s address, people thronged to nearby grocery stores and pharmacies to stock up on supplies which resulted in panic and mayhem. Adding to that, a steep surge in orders but the inability of delivery personnel to service them amid the virus crisis has crippled the e-commerce giants.
COVID - 19 has infected over 550 people in India and claimed nine lives. It doesn’t have a vaccine and that’s the reason why Modi reiterated that people shouldn’t step out of their homes during the lockdown.