Amazon resumes services in some cities, delivery delays to continue

New Delhi: E-commerce major Amazon India has resumed services in some cities, including Bengaluru, Noida, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, but deliveries would continue to be delayed because of movement restrictions and extensive lockdowns. Amazon and other e-commerce companies have been facing delays in delivery of orders after the government ordered a 21-day lockdown last week to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

While the government has allowed delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce, many players have complained of their delivery staff being hassled by police.

Also, local authorities shut down warehouses and stopped trucks from crossing state borders that disrupted operations.

Players have been in dialogue with government officials and local authorities to ensure that these issues are ironed out.

“We are now resuming services to some cities. We will be serving existing orders for essential products first, and are accepting new orders for essential products only… We continue to resume services gradually, adding in more cities as we get the necessary clearances and passes from the local authorities,” an Amazon India spokesperson said.

The cities where services have resumed include Bengaluru, Mysore, Pune, Ludhiana, Noida, Gurugram, Raipur, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

The spokesperson said considering the prevailing extensive lockdowns and restrictions in movement, deliveries may be delayed.

“In addition, in order to adhere to social distancing and avoid card/cash exchange at the time of delivery, we have temporarily suspended Pay-on-Delivery service,” the spokesperson added.

While the company did not talk about the delays being seen, industry experts believe it would be at least 4-5 days before the backlog of orders can be cleared.

A Snapdeal spokesperson said the company has started intra-city deliveries of food and grocery items in Delhi, Noida and Gurugram.

“Assessment is on to start the same in other cities. We have also on-boarded grocers from within these cities to expand the availability of essentials for our buyers,” the spokesperson added.

E-commerce platforms have seen a manifold growth in orders on their platforms in India over the past few weeks as people logged online to stock food and household items as well as office items such as routers and cables (for work from home) on concerns around spread of COVID-19 and restrictions in public movement that have now been enforced.

An industry executive, who did not wish to be named, said consumers will have to wait for about a week for their orders to get delivered.

While companies are working overtime to ensure orders get delivered, there are issues like trucks stuck at state borders and limited staff at warehouses that are adding to the delays, the person said.

Reports suggest that e-commerce companies could see a hit of about USD 1 billion as they are unable to sell non-essential items on their platforms.

Products like mobile phones, electronics and apparel account for a large chunk of sales for e-commerce marketplaces.


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