Coronavirus: Flipkart announces temporary suspension of services

The temporary suspension of services by Flipkart seems to be a direct impact of the coronavirus lockdown as it has caused major disruption to supply chain infrastructure. However, the etailer said it would be 'back' soon.

India’s leading ecommerce marketplace Flipkart has announced a temporary suspension of its services with immediate effect, following the country-wide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to combat coronavirus.

A message on the Flipkart app said, “Hello Fellow Indians, We are temporarily suspending our services.” It added, “Your needs have always been our priority, and our promise is that we will be back to serve you as soon as possible.”

Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart, said, “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.”

The temporary suspension of services seems to be a direct impact of the lockdown announced by the government as it has caused major disruption to the supply chain infrastructure. Movement of goods between places has come to an halt.

Flipkart’s competitor, Amazon, took a decision on similar lines on Tuesday. The US-headquartered online retailer said it was working to provide the products and services most demanded by customers and communities.

Amazon said it had "stopped taking orders and disabled shipments for low-priority products". Regarding pending orders on low-priority products, it said customers could cancel orders, and receive a refund for prepaid items.

According to the ecommerce giant, "currently critical" products that they will continue to provide include household staples, packaged food, healthcare, hygiene, and personal safety items.

The ecommerce industry, online grocery delivery firms, and food delivery companies have been facing challenges in ensuring deliveries amid the coronavirus pandemic. This was due to the sudden surge in demand and supply disruption.

Following the announcement of the nationwide lockdown, panic buying by people was visible everywhere. However, the government came out with a notification, clarifying that essential services like grocery shops, pharmacies, and ecommerce would be allowed to operate.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)