Flipkart hits temporary pause, Amazon’s grocery service down too

BENGALURU: E-commerce operations came to a grinding halt on Wednesday morning as two of the largest e-commerce platforms Flipkart and Amazon India virtually shut operations here due to on-ground difficulties to source products from warehouses and deliver them to consumers. This comes at a time when India is in its day one of 21-day lockdown and people are in panic to secure adequate essentials.
Flipkart, which is owned by US-based retailer Walmart, told its users on its platform that it is temporarily suspending its services on Wednesday. “Flipkart has temporarily suspended orders as we assess the possibilities of operating in the lockdown. We are prioritising the safety of our delivery executives and seeking the support of the local governments & police authorities to meet the needs of our customers as they stay home during this lockdown,” a spokesperson of Flipkart said.

(Source: Flipkart’s website)
Amazon India had told TOI on Monday that it was prioritising delivery of essential goods like household staples, health and hygiene products, sanitisers, baby formula, and medical supplies. It has disabled purchase of other products temporarily on its platform.

(Source: Amazon’s website)
Incidentally, two of the most critical services of Amazon that deliver essentials—Pantry and Amazon Fresh, aren’t working either. An Amazon India spokesperson did not immediately respond to TOI’s query on the matter. Online grocer Bigbasket also tweeted saying it was not operational due to restrictions imposed by local authorities on movement of goods in spite of clear guidelines provided by central authorities to enable essential services.

In the Wednesday edition, TOI reported saying the top executives of e-commerce firms, along with help of industry bodies like FICCI and CII escalated these issues to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and state governments, with hopes that operations will start stabilising and orders will get fulfilled in the next 24 hours. These companies have had to reschedule or cancel lakhs of orders in the last 48 hours.
“Practically, it looks like it might be another two days before our staff could deliver normally, across the country,” a person aware of the goings-on said.
TOI has been reporting on how delivery executives have been beaten up with serious injuries while delivering essentials across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech to the nation on Tuesday night, said essential services should be allowed to continue but platforms are facing issues forcing them to stop operations altogether as it puts safety of the delivery staff at serious risk.

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