Lockdown cripples online delivery platforms, users helpless

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) A week into the nationwide lockdown and online delivery platforms like Bigbasket and Grofers are still suffering from operational issues along with lack of manpower to even fulfill the orders they accepted before the lockdown came into force from March 24th midnight.

After the assurances from the centre as well as local authorities, online delivery platforms last week assured users of streamlined services in the next 4-5 days but the lockdown has thrown their plans completely out of gear.

Grofers currently has a backlog of 5 lakh orders.

“We are running at much lower than our 100 per cent capacity as permits are required for all warehouses and passes are required for each delivery person,” it said in a statement.

So far, Grofers has got passes for around 50 per cent of its staff.

“Local authorities are helping us with the rest of the passes. This should take few more days,” the company added.

Due to the lockdown, delivery partners have gone home and online delivery platforms are requesting them to come back.

“For us to come back to 100 per cent operational will take a few days more,” said Grofers.

Millions of distressed users have been left helpless across the country.

One user named Jayant Jain posted to Grofers: “When I open the app it says we will be back soon. Orders are not accepted yet. There is no delivery slots available. What’s the use of Grofers when it can’t deliver to regular customers who are dependent on Grofers”.

“Plz take realistic and implementable orders from customers. After placing order you are changing date of delivery as per your choice and its arbitrary,” posted Ajay Prakash.

Although Grofers tried to answer their queries but to no avail.

“Today was my order’s scheduled date for delivery but you guys rescheduled for 13th April. I’d placed the ordered on 23rd march. Your delivery service in Mumbai has been already resumed 3 days back,” posted Utkarsh Singh Chandel.

Several users who ordered before the lockdown are still awaiting for the delivery to reach their doorsteps.

Same issues have crippled Bigbasket which said on Wednesday that they have now increased their server capacities by 50 per cent to handle more traffic which will help in serving more orders.

The company said it was working at 10 per cent of its capacity last week and is now operating at 40 per cent of capacity planned.

“With the exceptionally high demand over the last few days, we are left with a huge backlog of orders. We will open up for new orders very soon,’ it said in a statement.

“We noticed there were a lot of customer complaints on slot availability message shown on the homepage to the actual slot availability when placing an order. We are working on fixing the above,” said Bigbasket, adding that it hopes “to serve you to the best of abilities over the next few weeks”.

Bigbasket users were in the same boat as those on Grofers.

“Can you please arrange call back as I am following up since 25 March & no response from your side,” Umang Shah posted to Bigbasket on Twitter.

Himanshu Khanduja posted to Bigbasket: “I managed to place an order in Indore on your app, it is showing delivery by 7 April, can you tell me if the order will be delivered? So that I don’t wait and miss out from other store”.

“At the time of need my elderly parents in Kochi had ordered your items, you cancelled it at the last minute. They were waiting for it. Now I realized the importance of ordering from nearby stores. You did not inform them either. You cannot expect them to be checking Twitter,” posted another angry user.

India is under a 21-day lockdown which is set to end on April 14. The lockdown call triggered migrants’ rush to go back to their home towns, leading to manpower shortage in cities.