Customers stand in chalk-drawn loops to maintain a safe distance while shopping for essentials at a store in CR Park, New Delhi, on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
A day after online grocer BigBasket suspended operations, cancelled deliveries and stopped taking new orders, the company’s spokesperson told The Indian Express that they faced “an unprecedented increase in demand, which was well beyond what they had planned for”.
“Our suppliers have been working closely with us to cater to this. However, meeting this demand requires adding bikes, vans, and manpower, and while we are trying, it's difficult to do this in a short period of time. Therefore, what we are trying to do is to only accept as many orders as we are able to service...,” they said.
While early Wednesday, e-commerce company Flipkart announced in a blog post that it had suspended operations, Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy later in the evening said they will resume grocery and essentials service. "We are very grateful for the clarification provided by the government and local state authorities on the functioning of e-commerce as ‘essential service’ during the lockdown, and of them taking cognizance of the role we can play to ensure that people’s needs are met during this time. We have been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities and are resuming our grocery and essentials services later today."
Customers who were able to make orders on Grofers until Tuesday found the website and mobile app down Wednesday. But, after a brief halt, the company announced in the evening that they have resumed their operations and are taking orders in Delhi again, after meeting with Delhi Police PRO Mandeep Singh Randhawa. "Our operations were temporarily interrupted, but with help of local authorities, we're accepting and delivering orders again. Kindly expect a longer delivery time as we serve older orders first," the company tweeted.
In the midst of some online delivery services suspending operations, supermarket chain Biz Bazaar launched a doorstep delivery service in various cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Gurgaon. Posters with phone numbers to place orders went viral on social media, and they were flooded with calls. Soon after, the company issued a statement on Wednesday: "In light of the recent announcement, we are receiving an unprecedented number of requests for doorstep delivery. There could be delay due to the restrictions on movements".