Business

E-com players suspend services as lockdown starts

Prioritise delivery of ‘critical goods’

E-commerce firm Flipkart has temporarily suspended its services as the 21-day country-wide lockdown began on Wednesday.

The move comes after rival Amazon India said it will halt orders for non-essential products and is looking at prioritising customers’ critical needs. Likewise, Gurugram-headquartered Snapdeal on Wednesday said it is working towards completing delivery of essential goods.

“Consequent to the order issued on March 24 by the Ministry of Home Affairs announcing a 21-day lockdown across India to contain the spread of COVID-19, we are temporarily suspending our services,” the Walmart-owned firm said in a blog.

It added, “Your needs have always been a priority, and our promise is that we will be back to serve you, as soon as possible.” A similar note was also visible to customers going to the Flipkart website.

A Snapdeal spokesperson said, “Snapdeal is working region-wise to complete as many deliveries of essential goods to our customers as possible as per local operating conditions. We are also actively supporting Central and State authorities to help streamline issues for e-commerce operations in order to effectively serve the needs of consumers.”

Meanwhile, Amazon India, in a blog on Tuesday, said a large number of districts/States are taking precautionary measures with extensive lockdowns and restricted movement of goods and people. At the same time, the platform is seeing an increased demand for priority products and important services.

“To serve customers’ most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our employees, we are temporarily prioritising our available fulfilment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for our customers such as household staples, packaged food, healthcare, hygiene, personal safety and other high priority products,” it said.

It added, “This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for lower-priority products.”

Amazon India said for all pending customer orders of lower-priority products, it is reaching out to customers and giving them a choice to cancel their orders, and receive a refund for prepaid items.

These changes, it said, are in effect from March 24, 2020.

“Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world and in India to deliver much-needed supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them. We will remain focused on providing this vital service to people in India, especially to those most vulnerable, like the elderly or those without access,” it said.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:12:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/e-com-players-suspend-services-as-lockdown-starts/article31167002.ece

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