Amazon has started accepting orders for all products from across the country along with resuming its cash on delivery payment option. On the other hand, Flipkart is yet to begin accepting fresh orders from customers in red zone areas.
The first day of the fourth phase of nearly two-month-long Coronavirus lockdown in India saw daily order volume for the semi-urban market focused e-commerce firm Snapdeal grow around 2.4X from previous 15 days. Snapdeal, which targets value-conscious buyers in Tier-II cities and beyond, got around 65 per cent orders, by 3 pm on Monday, from cities and towns under the red zone (excluding containment zones) out of the total orders placed. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its latest guidelines on Sunday had said that “all other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited” even as it didn’t categorically mention allowing full e-commerce operations in the red zone. The government had divided the country’s 733 districts last month according to total cumulative cases, level of testing, doubling rate, incidence etc. 130 districts have been in the red zone while orange zone has 284 districts and 319 districts are part of the green zone.
“The strong resurgence of demand on day one of expanded operations, including in red zones, reflects the massive and immediate requirements of users who have had no option to buy what they need for the last nearly two months. The new guidelines will also allow a much larger base of online MSME sellers to resume operations,” Rajnish Wahi, Senior Vice President, Snapdeal told Financial Express Online.
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While Amazon has also started accepting orders for all products from red zone areas as well, it is yet to announce its day one performance from such areas. The company has also resumed its cash on delivery payment option for customers. “We are now accepting Cash/Pay on Delivery in most locations where we are delivering all products. If your location is eligible for Pay on Delivery, you will see the option on the payment page while placing your order,” Amazon said in its latest updates around Covid-19 on its website.
On the other hand, Flipkart is awaiting state orders for delivering in the red zone before it begins accepting orders. “Many of the states are yet to come out with their advisory,” a Flipkart Group spokesperson told Financial Express Online.
However, Snapdeal “never stopped taking orders because the government’s restriction has been on delivering orders, not on accepting orders. We will deliver orders once the government’s guidelines are in place. States including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Punjab have given guidelines on delivering goods in red zones while another 8-10 states guidelines may come in few hours,” said Wahi.
Snapdeal claimed budget phones, kids garments, pressure cookers, trimmers, T-Shirts to be the top-selling categories. “Early morning surge saw buyers check out their pre-loaded carts and buying goods that they had been waiting for the last four-six weeks,” the company said in a statement. Pre-loaded carts were checked out on Monday while the surge in orders began around 10 pm on Sunday. The surge “has been growing every hour from 8 am onwards…on average, users bought 2-3 products in one go.”
Majority of the red zone orders for Snapdeal were received from Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Patna, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Jaipur, Kota, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Indore and Kolkata. Smartphones worth Rs 4,000-8,000 and features phones in Rs 500-1500 price bracket, home goods including pressure cookers, food processors, water bottles containers for food etc, trimmers and personal grooming supplies followed by kids apparel, work from home goods such as monitors, keyboards, extension cords and protection essential products like masks, face shields, sanitizers etc were the top products ordered.