Amidst the community spread of COVID-19, the Maldives government has imposed a 14-day lockdown in the Greater Male’ area. This has opened the window of opportunity to many local retailers to explore the depth of e-commerce.
The Maldives economy is still in its preliminary stage of e-commerce, and the immediate complaints of delays in delivery services are evident to that. A sudden surge in the demand for delivery services was not met with the limited number of employees in shops and with the limited permits to provide the service.
However, in just a matter of a week, local retailers have improved their services at a notable level. For instance, State Trading Organisation (STO) has stepped up its eSTOre services by taking limited orders each between a certain set time. Every day from 9 am onwards they will be taking only 300 orders, and each order will be limited to only 70 items. These changes resulted in immediate positive feedbacks from customers.
The government has also increased the permits to provide delivery services to help retailers meet with the demand. According to retailers, customers mostly order rice, wheat products, dates, vegetables, and meat products. As this is the Ramadan month, authorities and retailers are working on together on prompt delivery of items to the public.
Delivery of goods in the Greater Male’ area is not limited to only food items. STO has begun online prescription services as well. Life support has also started the delivery of medicine amid the lockdown.
In the upcoming days, it is predicted that e-commerce will further advance in the economy and more retailers will invest in e-commerce even after the situation returns to normal.