With India undergoing a complete lockdown for 21 days, many people turned to e-commerce firms such as Flipkart, Amazon, Big Basket, Grofers to get their essential household items. These primarily include vegetables, pulses and other products which the customers want to be delivered at their residence, only to find that they were not able to make the deliveries.

Although e-commerce platforms were allowed to provide essential goods and services in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, Flipkart, Amazon is showing all of their household items are ‘Out Of Stock’ or unable to complete the deliveries. But customers are facing issues in even ordering Grocery and Pantry items to their addresses as well.

Platforms like Flipkart, Amazon, Grofers, and Big Basket have all been showing most of the products out of stock or undeliverable.

Flipkart ceases operations

Walmart-backed Flipkart temporally suspended all its operations and services across India, including the grocery items on Wednesday. The megastore website’s homepage displays a message letting users know about its decision and all of its household products are currently labelled as ‘out of stock’.

“Flipkart has temporarily suspended orders as we assess the possibilities of operating in the lockdown. We are prioritising the safety of our delivery executives and seeking the support of the local governments and police authorities to meet the needs of our customers as they stay home during this lockdown,” Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart, said in a statement.

The etailer did not provide any clarity on how or when it will restart its operations.

“We are temporarily suspending our services. Your needs have always been our priority, and our promise is that we will be back to serve you, as soon as possible,” posted the company on its website.

In an internal email sent to employees, Adarsh Menon who is senior vice president at Flipkart wrote that senior executives will “evaluate how to get supply chains back in consultation with government and stakeholders but as of now the platform will not accept any orders”.

Amazon stops new orders amid lockdown

Ecommerce giant Amazon, in a blog post on Tuesday, said that it has prioritized available fulfilment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for customers such as household staples, packaged food, health care, hygiene, personal safety and other high priority products.

“To serve our customers’ most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our employees, we are temporarily prioritizing our available fulfilment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for our customers such as Household Staples, Packaged Food, Health Care, Hygiene, Personal safety and other high priority products. This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for lower-priority products,” Amazon said in a statement.

“This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for lower-priority products. For all pending customer orders on lower-priority products, we are reaching out to customers and giving them a choice to cancel their orders, and receive a refund for prepaid items,” added Amazon.

Big Basket restricted access to existing users

Big Basket restricted its website as well as its mobile app for new users. The company has notified its registered customers through a message on its app saying it is not operational due to the restrictions imposed by local authorities in spite of clear guidelines laid by the union government to enable essential services.

“We have been trying our best to serve the customers based on the understanding that we come under essential services,” message showed on Big Basket App on March 24.

Grofers: We will be back shortly

Similarly, Grofers’ website and app displayed the message — “we will be back shortly, please click below to get notified when we start accepting more orders.”

A Gadgets 360 report stated that most of Grofers’ warehouse in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi NCR had been shut down by the authorities and its delivery partners from local stores were forced to turn back.

The report quoted Grofers Co-Founder and CEO Albinder Dhindsa as saying that they are “abiding by the rules and ensuring the maintenance of proper hygiene and sanitation in our facilities and vehicles. We understand that a lot of vulnerable sections of our society are highly dependent on our services and we take this responsibility very seriously.”

As per local media reports, government and e-commerce are in talks to ensure smooth delivery of essential products.