Indian Online Sellers aren’t shying away from voicing out their opinion after staying voiceless for many years.
From writing an open letter to venting out frustration on social media, sellers are making sure that unfair treatment meted out to them is out in open. Latest we hear is that merchants have collectively reached out to Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal for being penalized for high product returns.
eSeller Suraksha Forum
In order to register their complaints and grievances, nearly 1,000 sellers have come together to form eSeller Suraksha Forum.
Sellers feel that the burden of returns is thrown entirely on them, instead of etailers sharing it or altering the return policy.
A forum member complained, “They put the entire blame on us, saying that we shipped fake or faulty products leading to return.”
Main concerns are:
- Etailers don’t share the logistics costs in case of returns
- This increases seller’s operational cost
- Marketplaces don’t return seller commissions for products that are returned, if it was opened
- Customers take advantage of the return policy
- Sellers are forced to accept returns
A seller affirmed, “In case of a customer return (where the customer has opened the package) we have to (still) pay commission to the platforms. In case of courier return (where packaging is intact), we don’t have to pay commission.”
Returns rate have climbed up to 50%, sellers claim
Due to the customer-friendly return policy, small and medium sized sellers are suffering. Sellers allege that returns rate of products such as apparel, electronics, mobile phones & accessories, and jewellery has reached as high as 50%.
According to Arvind Singhal, Chairman – Technopak Advisors the reason for high returns rate is, “There could be multiple reasons for this. First, with high penetration of smartphones, there are non-serious buyers who order for the sake of fun, like window shopping on ecommerce sites. This trend could be higher in certain parts of the country like UP. Some ecommerce companies have stopped delivering to several such regions. Secondly, (in) categories… such as apparel, footwear… touch and feel could be different from what it looks like on the website. Given lack of standardised sizes, even serious customers may not know their right sizes.”
Online Marketplaces disagree
However, ecommerce players Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal maintain that 50% is an exaggerated figure and returns rate on their respective portals is lower than that. Flipkart claims that its return policy is both, seller and buyer friendly. Amazon believes the unawareness among sellers about successfully managing an online venture is the root cause of the issues they are facing.
A Snapdeal representative revealed, “The returns on the Snapdeal platform have steadily gone down over the last one year due to introduction of various technology upgrades and tighter monitoring of quality aspects. The returns are today less than 10%, which is unarguably the lowest in the industry in India. There may be some outlier cases where a seller may have seen higher returns for reasons specific to such a seller.”