COVID-19: E-commerce sites struggle with grocery orders

Coronavirus: E-commerce websites struggle to cope with grocery order rush

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and lockdown imposed by the Union Government has led to hectic grocery buying on e-commerce sites. This has in turn led to stocks of essentials like rice and dal running out or deliveries being delayed for days.

For instance, a search for rice, sona masuri rice or basmati rice on Flipkart shows no stock of rice as on late afternoon on Thursday. Those who had placed orders when stocks were there have had to wait for days before deliveries were possible.

On Amazon Fresh, the website displays rice and dal as ‘In Stock’ but there is another message at the top that says: “We are not able to accept any more orders. Your current orders may be delayed or cancelled. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience.”

Another big e-commerce retailer, Big Basket, is only catering to existing customers. “We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand. In light of this, we are restricting access to our website to existing customers only. Please try again in a few hours.”

Even for some existing customers, delivery slots are either delayed or unavailable. An e-mail sent out to Big Basket customers late on Wednesday said: “Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Indore, Mumbai, Mysore, Noida, Surat, Vadodara: We are operational here. Over the last few days, we were affected by severe restrictions imposed on the movement of our staff and vehicles, but thankfully that's getting much better.

“Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Vijayawada: We are currently not operational but hoping to be operational in a day or two.

“Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Ludhiana, Pune, Vizag: In these cities we are currently not operational, and we aren't sure when we'll resume operations.

“Kochi: We are currently not delivering in Kochi due to our operational constraints,” it added.

Even when it comes to buying at supermarkets like Reliance Fresh or Nilgiris, there is a huge rush to buy essentials. Regular vegetable markets are also seeing very few vendors selling vegetables.

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