Coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the globe. More than 110 countries have reported confirmed cases, and India is also seeing a daily spike in numbers. At last count, there are as many as 182405 confirmed Coronavirus cases around the world, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirms India now has 114 confirmed cases of this highly contagious illness. With that as the backdrop, hearing about the Flipkart Big Shopping Days Sale, which runs from March 19 through till March 22 does make one sit up and take notice. Is this opportunism? That’s really the first thought that comes to mind. Is this designed to feed into the shopping frenzy as people are looking to stock up on essentials including food items, soaps and sanitizers? Flipkart insists that is absolutely not the case.
When asked if the Big Shopping Days Sale was planned before the Coronavirus scare or after, the company insists that their sales are planned well in advance. “Our promotional events are planned several months in advance in collaboration with our marketplace sellers, and these are part of our ongoing commitment to offer millions of our customers the best value as per their requirements,” says a Flipkart spokesperson to News18.
Late yesterday, the Ministry of Health released an updated advisory in India for social distancing with mandatory special protective measures for delivery men and women working in online ordering services. These need to be provided by their employers and the platforms they work for. Flipkart says they already had measures in place to ensure the safety of all workers in the supply chain and logistics networks. “Specifically, for our supply chain and logistics network, we have organized thousands of awareness sessions across all our facilities on how our employees and partners can minimize their exposure by following simple precautionary measures,” the spokesperson says. Flipkart is also providing all their delivery partners, who they call wishmasters, with sanitizers. “We are providing all our wishmasters sanitizers and other required equipment to use while they are on the go and are keeping track of impacted areas to minimize their exposure,” says Flipkart. The company also says that any delivery partner or worker who is unwell is advised rest with the assurance of medical support.
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Shoppers may have noticed over the past couple of weeks or so that certain essentials such as hand sanitizers are either out of stock on shopping websites, or stocks are really running low even in physical stores. “We are seeing demand in some categories increase and our teams are working relentlessly in partnership with our sellers to meet customer demand as people are increasingly following social distancing and are not stepping out of their homes,” says Flipkart. There however seems to be a recognition of the fact that the timing of this sale will allow people to buy stuff as they hunker down for the possible worse times that may lie ahead. “During these unprecedented times, when customers need to buy products that they and their families need, we are not only making efforts to keep running our operations as normal as possible, but also ensuring that our supply chain is extremely safe for them.”
The Flipkart Big Shopping Days Sale will offer discounts and offers on smartphones, televisions, home and kitchen appliances, refrigerators and air conditioners, laptops, headphones and speakers, smart devices, fashion apparel and accessories, home essentials and more. There will be additional discounts for SBI card users, EMI options on debit cards and Bajaj Finserv as well as exchange offers and cashbacks.