Flipkart expands grocery service to Pune amid Covid-19 movement restrictions

INDIA – Walmart-backed e-commerce Company, Flipkart has launched grocery services in Pune, a sprawling city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra amid surging demand for home deliveries occasioned by movement restrictions imposed by the state. .

The state of Maharashtra, where the city of Pune is situtated, has imposed curfews from 7am to 6pm during weekdays and total lockdowns during the weekend to curb the spread of the corona virus.

Data from the ministry of India shows that the country is currently in its third wave with daily cases rising sharply from a 7-day average of 11,000 in mid-February to a record 219,155 in mid-April, necessitating a lockdown in many of the states including Maharashtra.

As lockdowns limit the movement of people, e-commerce has become an important part of trade in India with many people having no other option but to buy things online.

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Grocery delivery has particularly picked up in the state of Maharashtra which is also the home of Mumbai, one of India’s largest cities.

Given its important role in supporting the lives of India’s during the curfews and lockdowns, grocery delivery has also been designated as one of the essential services allowed during the lock down period.

The expansion to Pune is thus timely as it will enable Flipkart to take advantage of this boom in online grocery. The Walmart-backed e-commerce platform with the launch, it can manage over 6,000 orders per day.

The company says its grocery platform offers over 7,000 products across 200+ categories which range from daily household supplies, snacks and beverages, and personal care items among others.

“Grocery continues to be one of the fastest-growing categories for us, with the increase in demand for quality food and household supplies,” Smrithi Ravichandran, vice president and head of grocery at Flipkart, said in the statement.

In tandem with the latest extension of services to the city, Flipkart is expected to build a dedicated grocery fulfillment center in Pune to handle the rising number of online orders.

Flipkart in a statement said that the soon to be establishment 72,000 square feet fulfilment center will create more employment for city’s residents.

Earlier, the e-commerce giant announced a new partnership with Mahindra Logistics to accelerate use of electric vehicles in last mile delivery and will deploy over 25,000 EVs in the fleet by 2030, according to a regulatory filing.

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Mahindra already has robust multi-city presence across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, with a plan to cover the top 20 cities by year-end.

This will prove beneficial to Flipkart as it will help facilitate a seamless and phased transition to EVs for the e-commerce giant’s pan-India supply chain, according to the filing.

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