Waiting period for receiving essential items like grocery via e-commerce has gone up by as much as a week amid the second wave of the pandemic, as digital platforms struggle to balance larger order volumes and ensure safety of their workforce, according to industry executives.
As the country reels through the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, various State Governments have announced lockdowns to curb the spread of the infection. Most States have allowed delivery of only essentials like grocery and medicines via e-commerce.
A note on BigBasket’s app said, “Due to Covid-19-related restrictions on movement in the city by local administration, your deliveries might get delayed... We are facing significant demand. We are distributing tokens to help you place an order.”The company declined to respond to a detailed questionnaire on the challenges being faced.
Amazon’s Fresh service, which promises delivery in 2 hours, also shows availability only after a day in Delhi. “In these unprecedented times, together with lakhs of sellers (including small and medium businesses) and associates across our network, we are working hard to serve customers while following stringent safety measures and government guidelines.
“We continue to work with the government to request them to allow home delivery of all products to safely fulfill customer needs,” an Amazon India spokesperson said.
Interestingly, retail giant Big Bazaar is betting on online deliveries to make up for the lost business at its brick-and-mortar stores.
A Big Bazaar spokesperson noted that there are challenges on account of restrictions on timings and items that can be sold at physical stores, which also differ widely between various states and cities.“While these do create a lot of challenges for retailers, Big Bazaar has rolled out two-hour online deliveries from stores and is using appropriate technology to ensure that we fully abide by the different restrictions in every city.“Our Store2Door home delivery in two hours ensures customers do not face any issues and are safe within their homes,” the spokesperson said. A senior e-commerce industry executive, who did not wish to be named, said the waiting period for deliveries is as high as a week in cities like Chennai, while it is slightly shorter in cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The delay in deliveries is on account of multiple factors, including manpower availability and longer time taken forpackaging to ensure hygiene.