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Road, net shutdowns disrupt e-commerce



New Delhi | Kolkata: One Act, many protests — and a sudden drop in ecommerce business volume.

Among the many disruptions caused by multicity agitations against the citizenship Act is the effect on deliveries and orders of large ecommerce operators. While online food delivery business has suffered a hit of 25-30%, other online categories have seen a drop of 3-5%, said businesses. Roadblocks and internet shutdowns have both been contributory factors.

“We have witnessed a decrease in delivery orders over the past three-four days across our brands,” said deGustibus Hospitality CEO Anurag Katriar. The chain runs popular dine-in brands such as Indigo, Tote on the Turf and Neem. Katriar is also the president of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).

Home delivery of food is a rapidly growing business. Zomato’s latest reported numbers show it delivers 1.25 million orders a day while Swiggy’s daily deliveries are estimated at 1.4-1.6 million.

Online-exclusive electronics brand BPL’s COO Manmohan Ganesh said there had been issues with deliveries and installations due to traffic disruptions.

Late Deliveries

“If the internet curbs continue on a sustained basis, business will definitely take a big hit,” Ganesh said.

Another executive, representing a quick service restaurant chain, said: “We are a mass brand, and for us, deliveries has been the backbone of business. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for us.”

Executives from online grocers BigBasket and Grofers too said they had faced disruption in some cities. Grofers chief executive Albinder Dhindsa said delivery vans in Delhi and Kolkata were caught up in traffic snarls. Business in Guwahati is “badly impacted”, he said. Internet connectivity in Assam has now been restored. BigBasket chief executive Hari Menon said there was disruption in Kolkata a couple of days ago, but business is now back to normal. He said there is not much impact in other cities.

A senior executive with a leading ecommerce marketplace said deliveries were delayed in Delhi-NCR on Thursday. “Flow of orders is badly impacted in the Northeast. Thankfully, this is not the peak shopping period,” he said, requesting anonymity.

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