BharatPe, the QR-based payments platform for offline merchants is now coming up with a consumer-facing feature where users can connect with retailers and order essentials such as groceries and medicines. This comes just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown.
BharatPe, which already has a network of 2 million neighborhood grocery, dairy and pharma stores will be able to connect them with potential customers at a time when e-commerce deliveries have been getting halted on the ground and some online grocery platforms haven’t been able to process orders due to surging demand.
“We are launching this feature tomorrow with an intent to increase the reach of retailers in their vicinity. Users will be able to spot the nearest store and connect on WhatsApp to place orders,” said Bhavik Koladiya, co-founder of BharatPe. “We are in touch with merchants and about 60% of them on our platform are ready to provide home delivery.”
This feature will allow users to check supplies instantly in their vicinity.
E-grocers including Grofers, BigBasket, MilkBasket, and others haven’t been able to deliver orders as some of their warehouses were not allowed to function and execute last-mile delivery. As per Entrackr estimates, they have a backlog of over 800,000 orders.
Despite the central government qualifying e-commerce as essential, there have been several on-ground hurdles that the delivery executives have been facing including physical harassment.
India’s largest online retailer also suspended its services temporarily today morning and is now in the process of restarting its grocery vertical — Supermart — soon.
“Supermart has also been restricted but Flipkart is trying to sort out permission at the local level,” said a person familiar with the matter. “They will begin services soon starting with Bengaluru but will take time to deliver as they are backlogged on orders for several days now.”
A Local Circles survey reveals that the percentage of consumers who were unable to find essential goods via e-commerce has risen from 35% to 79% in the last couple of days. At the same time, one-third were unable to find essential items at their local retail stores as well.
Meanwhile, BharatPe’s business has witnessed a 30% dip. “We have not been hit that much hard as most of our customers are pharmacies and grocery stores. The restaurant vertical is completely shut,” said Koladiya.