Coronavirus: Amazon, Flipkart in War Mode as Demand Swells in India

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With malls, shops, commercial establishments and retail stores being shut amid growing new coronavirus scare in India, leading e-retailers like Amazon and Flipkart have announced drastic measures to keep the orders moving albeit slowly as panic buying continues. According to Amazon, as COVID-19 has spread, it has seen an increase in people shopping online.

“In the short term, this is having an impact on how we serve our customers. In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories,” the company said in a recent blog post.

“You will also notice that some of our delivery promises are longer than usual. We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders,” it added.

A Flipkart spokesperson said that during these unprecedented times, they are not only making efforts to keep running its operations as normal as possible but also ensuring that its supply chain is extremely safe for them.

“We see demand in some categories increase and our teams are working relentlessly in partnership with our sellers to meet customer demand as people are increasingly following social distancing and are not stepping out of their homes,” the e-retailer said in a statement.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced immediate closure of all malls in the national capital, with exception for grocery and vegetable shops and pharmacies.

Further tightening the clampdown in the state in view of the growing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered all private offices, shops and commercial establishments to shut down in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

This is going to put extra pressure on the e-retailers to fulfil orders, at a time when gated communities in several parts of the country have restricted delivery boys’ entry into the premises, and have asked the owners to take orders only at main entrances.

Amazon said it would continue to work closely with authorities in India and worldwide to ensure that we are taking the right precautions and have implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees.

“We have paused visitor entry into our fulfilment centres and have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all operations sites across India,” said the behemoth.

“We’re also working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items,” Amazon added.

Flipkart said for its supply chain and logistics network comprising more than 120,000 people, it has organised more than 3,000 awareness sessions across all facilities.

“Our delivery executives are covered with both life and medical insurance, and anyone who contracts COVID-19 or is placed under quarantine will be provided leave with pay and other benefits, this is irrespective of whether it was contracted on the job,” said a Flipkart spokesperson.



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