Singapore

Amazon's debut in South-east Asia here hit by overwhelming demand

Amazon's debut in South-east Asia hit by overwhelming demand

She was recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction and wanted to order groceries from Amazon's new Prime Now service, which promises to deliver orders within two hours.

Instead, Ms Priyanka Nath, 36, a digital marketer, went out to buy her groceries yesterday as Amazon Prime Now was not taking new deliveries due to overwhelming demand.

The service delivers tens of thousands of products from its new 100,000 sq ft fulfilment centre at Toh Guan Road East.

It was launched on Thursday, but some shoppers were already unable to order goods that day.

The Business Times reported that many orders on Thursday failed to meet the promised two-hour delivery window.

The earliest that customers can place new orders is tomorrow, said a message on the app.

Ms Nath told The New Paper she tried placing an order after 10pm on Thursday, then realised deliveries take place between 10am and 10pm daily. She returned to her cart yesterday morning, found no delivery slots and took to Twitter to express her disappointment.

She said: "They should have anticipated more demand on their launch weekend and they should have better planned manpower and logistics."

TNP tried to place orders at 11.30am and 3.15pm yesterday via the Prime Now mobile app but received a message saying that no delivery windows are available.

(Amazon) probably expected the take-up to be more gradual as Singapore has a small population. Associate Professor Thompson Teo of the National University of Singapore Business School

Several customers made complaints on Amazon Prime Now's Facebook page.

But those who managed to place orders told TNP they had received their items within their allocated time slots.

An Amazon spokesman said it was delivering thousands of orders each day.

"Due to great customer response, delivery windows are currently sold out. We are rapidly opening up new windows to ensure we can continue delighting customers in Singapore."

Amazon did not answer TNP's queries on how many orders were affected and whether it would be compensating affected customers.

A spokesman for logistics firm Riverwood, the main delivery company for Amazon here, said that it had been planning for Prime Now's launch for months.

She said it had been working hard to handle the orders, even activating support teams, but added that it was up to Amazon to control the orders.

Associate Professor Thompson Teo of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School said: "Amazon underestimated the demand.

"It probably expected the take-up to be more gradual as Singapore has a small population... I believe this is a temporary glitch."

Associate Professor Jack Jiang Zhenhui of NUS' Department of Information Systems said: "It has to step up is distribution capabilities to meet the orders. But I think if a big company like Amazon is determined to do that, it will be able to."

RELATED STORIES

Online ShoppingOnline Businesstechnology