In the midst of anxiety buying and hoarding of daily essentials as news of markets, shutdown spread over the COVID-19 outbreak, online grocery providers have swung into action to ensure consumers do not hoard products and everyone gets an equal share of groceries.
Online grocers Grofers and BigBasket have imposed unit caps on the number of essential goods that can be purchased. In Grofers, for all daily use items such as pulses and flour, only one packet can be purchased in an order.
BigBasket, which earlier allowed 25 packets of an item, has now reduced it to four per product. But for items in high demand such as sanitisers, only 1 piece can be ordered right now, a BigBasket spokesperson told BusinessToday.In. He said the firm is considering a cap on the order value a consumer can order in a month.
Meanwhile, discount offer and offers on daily use items have been stopped to discourage non-essential buying.
Horizontal marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon have always limited the number of items across categories to ensure they are not bought by resellers. "There is no shortage per se, just that demand has gone up drastically because of which we put an inventory limit," says Albinder Dhindsa, Co-founder & CEO, Grofers. It changed algorithms to ensure multiple orders from the same address are flagged to the team. "We saw small traders trying to game the system, placing multiple orders of the same item, which we wanted to restrict," he adds. This is often when products are cheaper online and small retailers buy them in bulk to sell it at a margin offline.
Grofers has also started disclosing 'stock levels' of products in the app to ensure consumers don't panic fearing depleting inventory and continue to order only as per requirement.