Can Sellers Trust Online Marketplaces?
Lately it seems like everyone wants in on Indian ecommerce. Big corporations like the Aditya Birla Group, business tycoons like Ratan Tata and even international players like Amazon and Alibaba want to see how far Indian ecommerce can take them. The ecommerce scenario in the country is run by online marketplaces. There are hundreds of them willing to offer sellers a platform to trade their goods across the country.
Online stores haven’t quite taken off in comparison to online marketplaces. These figures show you approximately how important it is to jump onboard the online marketplace express (as an online seller). Established brands like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Paytm are in the lime light and have managed to build a good reputation in the eyes of online consumers. This is why online shoppers continuously flock to these marketplaces. But like everything in business there are risks. And sometimes selling on a marketplace can come at a higher cost than anticipated.
Breaking Seller’s Trust
Shopping online is irresistible now that it is available to everyone through their computers and mobile phones. The fact that you can get everything for cheap, makes it even more tempting. But if consumers find out they’ve been sold fake goods, they will lose faith in all your products. Just ask Nikon, Ray Ban and saree retailer Siddhi Vinayak Knots and Prints. When a single marketplace seller delivers fake goods, (say leather shoes) it affects the image of the entire selling community on that marketplace. Two things can happen –
– Either people are discouraged from buying any product available in the marketplace
– Or people no longer believe in the marketplace’s leather shoe sellers
The sale of counterfeit goods affects online sellers the most, since they suffer either way. Curbing fraudulent activities on their platforms is a Marketplace task. Measures need to be taken to prevent these sellers from entering the online playing field. Damage control is required to restore people’s faith in the selling channel and the rest of its online sellers.
The whole point of return policies is to make shoppers comfortable with online selling. It also protects them from feeling powerless. This can result in an increase in sales as well as a landslide of returned goods. Marketplaces are being strict about their return policies. Like in the case of Amazon, sellers claim the return policy rules are too stringent and unnecessary. Some say, the international giant is biased towards consumers. In the event of product returns, 50% of the sales amount is deducted and sometimes even a 100%, despite the seller ‘not’ being at fault. Also some marketplaces do not discuss the return issues with the sellers or what will happen to the returned products. And as a remedy to buyers, some seller accounts may be closed down as well.
Fraudulent buyers can cause a state of alarm among online sellers. Credit card fraud is not only restricted to sellers on the internet. Buyers can be devious too. It can be difficult to spot them especially on marketplaces. There are many cases where sellers have been duped by buyers. Sometimes product returns may not be genuine. But since you are a part of an online marketplace you need to deal with the consequences of their policies.
Like any other marketplace sellers try to offer discounts to attract consumers. But to what extent? Providing discounts costs money. And 70% discounts do not fund themselves. If you want to stay in the game you need to pay. So your margin of profits as an online seller are not much at the end of the day.
Redeeming Itself – The Saving Grace (Building Trust and Strengthening It)
Yes, online marketplaces have wronged their sellers in more ways than one. But their power still prevails in Indian ecommerce. So giving up on them is not an option. No need to go too crazy over this though, because marketplaces are listening. They cannot function without online sellers. So striking the right balance of happiness between buyers and sellers is a marketplace must.
Instance – 1
Flipkart has taken action against numerous conniving sellers. By the end of October last year around 40 sellers were black listed, once in house mystery shoppers were put into action. Amazon took a similar approach. AskMeBazzar started a zero tolerance policy against fake goods and sellers. They even raised awareness about it the issue on Twitter.
Instance – 2
Just last month Flipkart caught 2 buyers, who were allegedly cheating the ecommerce giant. The accused had ordered an iPhone and said they did not receive it. In good faith the company refunded the buyers. But upon investigation the phone was traced right back to them.
Instance – 3
Merchant protection programs have been established by marketplaces to protect the interest of online sellers. The Flipkart seller protection fund helps safeguard sellers against losses. Enabling them to concentrate more on selling and less on risks.
What You Need to do as an Online Seller
Be alert – Make sure you carefully read all the terms and conditions of the marketplace. If you do not understand them, get in touch with marketplace representative. As for fraudulent consumers, check for signs of fraudsters. Do not leave it up to a marketplace to ensure your security.
Make your concerns known – Let your marketplace know about your issues, problems and negative experiences. This way they know what their sellers are going through and where they can improve their services.
Spread your business – Do not stick to one marketplace explore your options and spread your risks. This way you know where to concentrate more of your efforts. And if managing multiple marketplaces gets too trying, Browntape is here to assist you.
To know more about ecommerce and assisted online selling, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!