SINGAPORE: Online grocer RedMart will be suspending new orders for two days to tweak its product offerings and update its system, amid a surge in orders due to COVID-19 concerns.
In a letter to customers on Thursday (Apr 2), RedMart said that it will resume taking new orders on Saturday.
During this time, RedMart will make changes to the range of products available, a move aimed at helping ensure that delivery slots remain available and consumers "receive their essentials in a timely manner", it said.
Those who have already placed orders will still be able to receive them, RedMart said, adding that customers will not be allowed to add new items to their existing orders.
Consumers had earlier this week told CNA they were unable to secure delivery slots through various online supermarket platforms in recent weeks, as consumers turn to online shopping following the COVID-19 outbreak.
This came as the authorities on Saturday advised against "non-essential" trips to shopping malls, and for individuals to opt instead to buy food and groceries online as part of safe distancing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
On Sunday, Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan announced that taxi and private-hire car drivers would be allowed to make grocery and food deliveries, noting the higher demand for such services.
In its message, RedMart said it has implemented several measures to handle the increased demand during this time.
This includes temporarily reducing the range of products available, and prioritising daily necessities such as rice, flour and eggs.
Delivery slots will also be assigned based on location, with only specific days and times available for each address.
"This change will help us in maximising our logistics and allow each household to order twice a week," said Mr James Chang, chief executive of Lazada Singapore, which owns Redmart.
In addition, RedMart will also limit orders to 35 items and bar customers from adding items once the order is placed.
Orders that exceed 100kg may be cancelled.
All deliveries will also be left at doorsteps to minimise physical contact, said RedMart, adding it was monitoring the situation and would "take additional measures if necessary".
RedMart added that its staff, including delivery workers, go through mandatory daily temperature checks and sanitisation, and strictly adhere to hygiene protocols before and after each delivery, according to guidelines from the Health Ministry.
"We seek the understanding of our customers during this time, as we continue to fine-tune our operations under the current landscape," said Mr Chang.