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Amazon & Flipkart under public fury for selective delivery

The top guns of Indian ecommerce industry in India – Amazon and Flipkart have come under public fire following concerns related to its delivery to Tier II and Tier III towns such as Noida, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir. The discussion erupted following a query, “Why are Amazon and Flipkart not delivering products in Noida and Ghaziabad.”

An anonymous customer hailing from Noida, Uttar Pradesh in India listed the following warnings from Amazon when he tried to place an order for a smartphone. “This could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • None of our courier partners deliver to your area
  • The category of the item you ordered is not delivered by our courier partners delivering to your area
  • Your order value exceeds the value limitations of our courier services delivering to your area.”

Following a series of incidents of looting of the delivery and other unpleasant incidents, the e-tailing companies in India have placed certain restrictions in its platform for the consumers. Amazon has capped its Cash on Delivery at INR 5000, Flipkart at INR 10,000 in Uttar Pradesh, and blacklisted certain pin codes within the geography of India. This is will restrict purchase of high-value items by residents of UP unless they opt of pre-paid service through online payment.

Many e-tailers in India are struggling with issues related to its delivery services on back of the diverse geography of India and risk of product-rejection which are ordered via CoD. Ecommerce players have also reported cases of manhandling of the staff by the customer in certain areas, which has become a disturbing fact for the Indian industry and called for such measures.

“Our delivery boys were locked up in the bathrooms, some beaten up, for the most silly reasons ever, give me my change of two rupees, the POS not working, the order was late, order was not functioning,” said the spokesperson of Amazon on the subject.

Quora, the discussion platform, detailed on the subject with personal anecdotes from an ex-employee of Flipkart. He added that delivery boys returning with COD money in their purses would be indiscriminately robbed. Consumers opting for CoD do not intend to buy the product but ‘just order for the fun of it’ and replace it with worthless items and blame it on the ecommerce company on spoil the brand image on social media.

It is not a feasible option for the ecommerce companies to provide each delivery boy with security personnel or mandate strict verification for the online consumer which might hamper the traffic. They may blacklist the users account but with a new mobile number and an address they can generate another one. Ecommerce companies in India are haunted by such challenges which questions of the functionality of such a business model and its implication in India.

The residents of other Tier II and Tier III towns are also facing similar chanllenges as the order as being rejected by the ecommerce honchos. But the sellers also suffer a loss when an order is rejected by the customer who has opted for CoD. “It takes a minimum of 10 days to ship a product to a customer and back to the company if it’s not purchased. It causes loss to sellers, selling through Flipkart, as their products get blocked in transit,” a senior Flipkart executive told a local daily on the issue.