In Uttar Pradesh, this small family business became a lifeline for an entire village
When Meghdoot Herbal was founded 35 years ago in a remote village near Lucknow, its aim was to create jobs for those living nearby. In early 2020, when a global pandemic threatened the very purpose of its existence, the traditional family-owned business, and now a Flipkart Samarth partner, adapted to the crisis and leveraged e-commerce to tide through difficult times. Supported by the Flipkart Samarth program under the aegis of an MoU signed with the Government of Uttar Pradesh, Vipul Shukla’s family business has paved the way for similar enterprises to take the plunge and realize success.
Voices from a pandemic
Listen to these podcast episodes from our COVID-19 special coverage on Studio 34, the Flipkart podcast.
Programmed to Solve – How Flipkart’s Program Management Team facilitated the delivery of essentials during the COVID-19 lockdown
Working days, nights and weekends, Flipkart’s Program Management team responded rapidly amid the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 lockdown. Leveraging technology and forging sound collaborations, this team worked with cross functional product & engineering teams to devise solutions to facilitate the delivery of essential items to anxious customers. This is the story of relentless Flipkart employees who were prepared to go to great lengths to serve our customers.
When brands with a conscience come together
Flipkart has sought to find common ground with corporate citizens and marquee brands that share its ethos and commitment to social good. Striking partnerships with like-minded brands with a conscience like Hindustan Unilver Limited & The Coca-Cola Company, Flipkart is fostering a culture of collaboration to ensure that frontline healthcare workers are safe. Engaging our customers with the unique stay-at-home reality show Entertainer No. 1 and partnering with NGOs such as Give India and government departments, we have ensured that personal protective equipment (PPEs) reaches these healthcare workers.
Hear from these Uber driver partners who are delivering Flipkart orders
Go behind the scenes of Flipkart’s partnership with Uber India to deliver essentials across cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From a Bengaluru driver who makes sure to tell customers about the tie-up to another in Gurugram who ensures utmost safety while on the field and later, when going back home to his children — read the stories of the Uber driver partners who are powering the initiative on the ground.
Update: May 19
Flipkart has partnered with modern retail store chain Vishal Mega Mart for home delivery of essentials through a safe supply chain in 26 cities. Customers can now get next-day doorstep delivery of essentials from the nearest Vishal Mega Mart store through Flipkart in a hygienic, fast and convenient manner through a safe supply chain. The partnership is in effect across 26 cities including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, NCR- Delhi, Patna, Goa, Guwahati, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Bareilly, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Aligarh, Dehradun, Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Raipur, Bilaspur and Bhubaneswar. In the next four weeks, this will expand to cover all 365+ Vishal Mega Mart store catchments across 240+ cities.
Read more in Newsroom
Update: April 29, 2020
Flipkart has partnered with Meru, India’s trusted app-based ride-hailing cab operator, to deliver everyday essentials and groceries to consumers. This partnership is a continuation of Flipkart’s efforts to create innovative models of collaboration to serve citizens during this unprecedented crisis. It also supports the government’s efforts to keep Indians at home to contain the spread of COVID-19. The synergies between both organizations will ensure that essential supply chains are functional while supporting driver-partners with income opportunities.
Update: April 28, 2020
Reiterating our continued support in the fight against COVID-19, Flipkart has announced a new insurance protection and incentive policy for supply chain partners, including kiranas and freelance delivery executives, to safeguard them against the impact of COVID-19.
Under the customized insurance cover, Flipkart is offering an Income Protection Plan along with an OPD Insurance that covers outpatient expenses, consultation, pharmacy and diagnostics with no waiting period for alternate delivery partners, including kirana partners, to safeguard them against any loss of income and cover OPD expenses during the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. Additionally, for freelance delivery executives, the Income Protection Plan offers income protection for a maximum of three weeks.
In addition, all of Flipkart’s wishmasters and supply chain executives are covered under ‘Flipcare’ — Flipkart’s insurance program that covers accidental, term-life insurance, which is over and above the cover provided by Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
These initiatives become essential at a time when the country has come to a standstill due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and supply chain executives and partners have emerged as a ray of hope for citizens. Flipkart salutes the heroic efforts of these executives towards ensuring that consumers, who are at home or stranded at several places due to a country-wide lockdown, receive their daily nutrition and medication.
Flipkart has also introduced new measures for supply chain partners in acknowledgement of their consistent service during the lockdown. Advance payments have been made to all ADM partners, and payment cycles have been reduced by a 50% time-frame. Further, refreshments are provisioned at all last-mile facilities for our delivery executives.
Update: April 17, 2020
Even as the nation goes into extended lockdown, e-commerce has become the lifeline for the country, keeping workers employed and delivering essentials to millions of customers. Curious about what’s going on behind the scenes?
Take a look at these pictures from Flipkart’s fulfillment centres, warehouses and delivery hubs in the time of COVID-19.
Flipkart customers say, “Thank you e-commerce!”
Amid the lockdown, many customers have turned to e-commerce to get their daily needs. Grateful for the option to get their essentials delivered, our customers have sent in messages of thanks, saying that it’s e-commerce that’s helped them not only get their supplies, but also stay safe.
Update: April 16, 2020
As per the statutory requirement, all Flipkart Wishmasters/ delivery executives are required to wear face masks while making deliveries.
Update: April 9, 2020
Flipkart SmartBuy has launched hand sanitizers and surgical masks to support the country’s efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak. In line with the government’s directive, the sanitizers will be available at Rs. 250 for a 500ml bottle and the surgical masks (3 ply meltblown face masks) will be available at a starting price of Rs. 240 for a pack of 15. These medically certified products will be made available under the Health+ range of the brand. The Flipkart SmartBuy Health+ Hand sanitizer and Flipkart SmartBuy Surgical masks will be available on Flipkart’s platform under the Personal Care category in essentials.
#News: @Flipkart #SmartBuy launches hand sanitizers & surgical masks to support the country’s efforts to control #COVID19 outbreak. Medically certified products, priced as per government directives, will be available under the brand's Health+ range
More: https://t.co/zV6nF2wue8 pic.twitter.com/q7o092MjaS
— Flipkart Stories (@FlipkartStories) April 9, 2020
Update: April 7, 2020
Across the world, healthcare workers are leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As cases pile up, our healthcare workers – nurses, doctors, paramedics and support workers – are putting everyone else’s well-being before themselves. And often, this means being away from their families for days on end, even as the rest of the world shelters in place with theirs.
On World Health Day, in collaboration with CII Young Indians, we acknowledge these selfless soldiers by expressing our heartfelt gratitude to them.
We asked Flipsters at Flipkart and their families to send messages of love and encouragement to the healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these thank-you cards have been drawn by children, who send hope and light to put a smile on your faces.
Update: April 6, 2020
Flipkart has announced a partnership with Uber to provide people across Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi access to everyday essentials, amidst the ongoing national lockdown. This partnership will keep vital supply chains running and will address the growing needs of Flipkart customers to receive essential goods at their doorsteps every day. It will also support the government’s objective of keeping hundreds of millions of Indians at home to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Stay home and limit the spread.
Read more on Flipkart Newsroom: https://t.co/e1rmYA5MJA
— Flipkart Stories (@FlipkartStories) April 6, 2020
Update: March 25, 2020, 7:45 pm IST
“Prime Minister Modi and the state government have taken strong, quick and decisive action to prevent the spread of the outbreak of COVID-19, and we are deeply appreciative of the measures taken to ensure that people stay at home to break the chain.
We are very grateful for the clarification provided by the government and local state authorities on the functioning of e-commerce as ‘essential service’ during the lockdown, and of them taking cognizance of the role we can play to ensure that people’s needs are met during this time, as India fights this unprecedented challenge.
We have been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities and are resuming our grocery and essentials services later today.
We continue to strengthen our supply chain in a safe and secure manner for our employees and consumers alike, and will leverage our efficient and robust delivery network to make products available to customers across the country and support the nation in this time of crisis through sanitized & safe supply chain.”
– Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO – Flipkart Group
We are grateful for the clarification provided by the government and local state authorities on the functioning of e-commerce during the lockdown. We are resuming our grocery services today.
India, we are committed to serving you at this time 🙏 Thank you for your trust
— Kalyan Krishnamurthy (@_Kalyan_K) March 25, 2020
Consequent to the government order issued on March 24 by the Ministry of Home Affairs announcing a 21-day lockdown across India to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, Flipkart has temporarily suspended orders as we assess the possibilities of operating in the lockdown.
We are prioritising the safety of our delivery executives and seeking the support of the local governments and police authorities to meet the needs of our customers as they stay home during this lockdown.
We urge you to stay at home to be safe.
Update: March 18, 2020
As the Flipkart Group steps up its business continuity planning, Amitesh Jha, Senior Vice President – eKart & Marketplace, answers questions on preparedness and safety measures across the supply chain.
Update: March 17, 2020
In continuation of our preparedness, we have stepped up preventive action in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the advisory on social distancing issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
- Sanitized Facilities: Our company facilities and warehouses are being sanitized and deep-cleaned at regular intervals
- Assured Hand Hygiene: All our warehouse and delivery partners are adhering to the World Health Organization’s hygiene advisory during deliveries
- Monitoring Health Hygiene: We are constantly monitoring the health of our employees and delivery associates as per WHO guidelines
Supply Chain and Logistics
- For our supply chain and logistics network, we have organized more than 3,000 awareness sessions covering over 100k employees across all our facilities on how our employees and partners can minimize their exposure by following simple precautionary measures
- We are providing all our wishmasters with alcohol-based sanitizer solutions and other required equipment to use while they are on the go, and are keeping track of impacted areas to minimize their exposure
- Wishmasters who are unwell are being advised to rest with all assurance of medical support and we are giving our full time contractors and wishmasters paid leave when needed
Update: March 13, 2020
In light of the current updates on the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and keeping in mind the well-being of our employees, we have decided to extend work from home for our employees till the end of next week (March 20, 2020). Our trial to check our system preparedness has given us the confidence that our teams will be able to meet their commitments to our customers and sellers.
Our supply chain and last mile delivery operations will continue to take necessary precautions while meeting our commitment to customers. We are providing our wishmasters with sanitizers and other required equipment to use while they are on the go, and are keeping track of impacted areas to minimize their exposure.
Update: March 11, 2020
Across the Flipkart Group, we are focused on prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees, wishmasters, customers and sellers. We are continuously monitoring the situation and are communicating with our stakeholders. As an additional precautionary measure, over March 11-13, 2020, employees at Flipkart and Myntra are working from home to check the system preparedness for working remotely using digital/video tools.
- In light of primary schools in Bengaluru declaring holidays on the directive of the government, we are encouraging parents with young children to work remotely to balance their commitments. We are promoting the use of video conferences for meetings, including job interviews, and are temporarily avoiding events and training programs that require large gatherings as a precautionary measure.
- The company’s facilities are being sanitized and deep-cleaned at regular intervals as per standard norms for such situations, and we are encouraging good hygiene outlined by health advisories issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
- Specifically, for our supply chain and logistics network, we have organized awareness sessions across all our facilities on how our employees and partners can minimize their exposure by following simple precautionary measures.
- 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. Wishmasters who are unwell are being advised to rest with all assurance of medical support.
- We remain committed to leveraging the power of e-commerce and continue to serve communities across India in this time of need.
Update: March 6, 2020
Health and well-being come first. Amid rising concerns around Coronavirus and COVID-19, that’s the message the Flipkart Group has underscored in our communication to employees in our offices and across our pan-India supply chain, as well as our marketplace sellers and MSME partners across the Flipkart ecosystem. We appreciate the steadfast commitment of our supply chain employees and wishmasters for sparing no effort to ensure that consumers continue to get their orders, particularly essential products, in time. We remain committed to leveraging the power of e-commerce and continue to serve consumers across India in this time of need. We thank you, our customers, for your patience and understanding, and for your continued trust and faith in Flipkart.
Measures in place for employees and supply chain staff
- We are continuously monitoring the situation and have issued an advisory to our employees across all our establishments
- We have also issued guidelines and measures to be undertaken by employees and their families, keeping their safety in mind
- All domestic and international business travel have been suspended with immediate effect
- In our supply chain and logistics network, we have organized awareness sessions across all our facilities on how our employees and partners can minimize their exposure by following simple precautionary measures and good hygiene practices in line with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, Government of India
- We are promoting the use of video conferences for meetings, including job interviews, and are temporarily avoiding events and training programs that require large gatherings as a precautionary measure
- We are encouraging employees/staff who are unwell to not report to work and also providing our teams with all required material, including sanitizers as they interact with customers across the country
- We are working closely with our marketplace partners to ensure adequate availability of consumer sanitary products like hand sanitizers, gloves and masks
- Flipkart Travel, through our partner ixigo, is offering full refund (including convenience fee) on cancellation and rescheduling of air tickets booked on Flipkart Travel. This is applicable on travel to selected countries up to March 31, 2020
- We are aware of the possibility of surging prices of some products on the Flipkart marketplace. While we do not control prices of products on the Flipkart marketplace platform, we are working closely with our sellers to urge responsible pricing and behavior. Products with fake claims and inflated prices are being removed on an ongoing basis.
- Certain products may be out of stock on Flipkart due to high customer demand. We are working with our sellers to replenish products and encouraging them to be fair in the prices they are proposing.
For marketplace sellers
We value the health and safety of our marketplace sellers as well as MSMEs and their employees and partners.
- The Flipkart Seller Hub is continuously in touch with Flipkart sellers to promote preventive healthcare and hygiene. Our team has communicated necessary precautions in order to ensure the health and safety of our marketplace sellers and their staff amid concerns over public health during the recent global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- Our marketplace team has appealed to the seller community to ensure that products like masks, sanitizers, antiseptic liquids and handwash are made available to our customers at all times at the best possible prices. They have been advised to dispatch these products on priority.
- To ensure faster delivery, sellers have been advised to inward these products to smart warehouses and Flipkart warehouses.