End of season sale is on its peak in India. Buyers are busy buying what they need and even what they don’t need. Every seller is eager to make as much sale they can make.
Indian Online Shopping Sites are not behind in this race. In-fact they are making more sale than many big retail shops.
Secret of the success lies behind culture of Special Deals and Discount Coupons which Indian e-commerce websites have created over the time.
Every weekend these Shopping Sites are offering additional 30-40% discount also. Which is attracting more and more customers successfully and helping Indian e-commerce to grow.
However during this shopping festival these companies are making serious compromises on product authentication and product quality. Lets understand how these big Online shops have turned their blind eye to widely going on malpractices on their websites.
Most of the Indian on-line shopping companies are working on open market business model where anyone seller can list and sell their product on the website.
Only few of the companies have their own warehouses, and even if they have, only few products they sell directly from their warehouse.
Best example can be Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart. Flipkart sells limited products from their warehouse using the seller name of WSRetail. However any external seller can become a seller on their website and list his products. Flipkart takes commission for each sale an external seller is making on their website. Almost all Indian e-commerce companies are working on the same model (such as Ebay India, ShopClues, Tradus, Amazon India etc) and have external people selling products behind their brand.
When a product is sold by an external seller, it becomes responsibility of the e-commerce website to ensure that products are being sourced from reliable sources and these are genuine products. Because any customer coming to these websites will be coming because of the brand reputation and not because of the unknown seller.
Unfortunately these websites are only concerned with taking commission from these sellers and till the money is coming into their pockets they hardly worry about anything else.
Lets take a look at the loose ends of e-commerce websites operating in India and how they have left loopholes knowingly which allows any fraudulent seller to come on these sites and cheat customers –
1) Unregistered Businesses –
Currently only few websites require a seller to have a business license (TAN Number) for selling over their website, many e-commerce sites don’t care about it and anyone can go and sell anything on these websites.
2) Unknown Product Source –
Hardly any company is checking if product has been procured from legitimate source or not. So someone can sell even stolen products online, these company are not bothered about it. All they care about is their commission on per sale.
3) Selling Brand Names –
Majority of the online shops are selling Packets, envelopes, tapes and other packaging materials with their logo and brand names to these unknown sellers. They use this packaging material and it looks like product is coming directly from the on-line shopping site, while reality is that it is being sent by someone sitting in his home.
4) Direct Shipping –
These sellers can send products directly to customers using courier. However most of the online shopping sites take a fixed shipping fee and send their contracted courier guy (such as from BlueDart, FirstFlight or FedEx) to pick these packages from the sellers. These package are sent directly to the buyers and no quality check is done by these big On-line shopping brands during this process. So even if someone is selling duplicate products, its only customer who faces the trouble and then spends days in complaining and providing proof that he received a duplicate product.
Due to these loopholes innocent customers are at the receiving end and they are facing all sort of problems. The most common complains are –
1) Tempered Package –
You receive a package which was opened and repackaged. May be your product was used before it was sold. I recently received a perfume which had scratches on bottle and its box also had marks on it as it was opened multiple times.
2) Damaged Products –
You receive a product with scratches or wear and tear, in worst case it may be in totally not working condition.
3) Partial Products –
Some part of the package is not there as it was taken. If customer does not check list of items in the box, he will not even know that some item is stolen from his package. Recently when I purchased mobile cover of an international brand, I found that some accessory was not in the box while it was mentioned on top of the box. When complained, this on-line shopping company refunded me money.
4) Duplicate Product –
Many sellers are actively selling duplicate products of well known brands. They also offer huge discounts on the MRP which attracts many customers towards them. Few months ago I had similar experience when I purchased a pair of sandals of Puma brand from an on-line store and it turned out to be a cheap duplicate product. I had no way to prove that it was a duplicate product. So I had to keep it.
5) Out of warranty products –
Someone recently complained that after purchasing iPhone from one of the top 3 on-line shops in India, when he visited Apple service center for some problem with the product, he was denied warranty as product was imported and unlocked and was not eligible for any warranty.
These problems are growing day by day and with increasing number of online customers. These fraudulent sellers are mushrooming on all shopping sites.
Indian Online Shopping sites need to take some serious steps towards improving this condition if they want to keep trust of customers with them.