“Online selling experience has been good and sales have definitely grown in 2 years. But it became possible because I increased the product catalogue.”
Looks like Mumbai-based Mamata Sahu made the right choice in switching from her Marketing Executive career to ecommerce. She has been selling pharma products like rehab supports, walking sticks etc. on various marketplaces since August 2014.
In this IOS exclusive, Mamata gets honest about marketplaces and the changes required.
IOS: Do you think marketplaces favour customers more?
Mamata: Yes, marketplaces do favour customers more as they have nothing to lose. In addition to commissions, they also charge for shipping, payment gateway, returns and service tax. They take advantage of the fact that we sellers want to sell products and hence will not quit selling on these platforms.
But they don’t realize that sooner or later this customer favouring mantra will fail as none of the sellers would be ready to sell online anymore due to the heavy losses we incur from silly returns.
As an online seller, what are the top 3 privileges you want from marketplace, which you don’t get now?
- No shipping fee in case of returns, unless the wrong product was sent or damaged product received.
- NO COD- I believe if the customer knows to operate or place an order online with an internet access he/she can certainly pay it online too). Non-serious customers simply order it and return it without opening it. Many times they are not available at the delivery time and they are not bothered and simply say they are not interested anymore. They are unaware that sellers get penalized for that.
- Reduced return period. 30 days return period?? WOW … why does one need 30 days to understand that the outfit doesn’t fit her or the quality is not good? I believe maximum 5 days or one week is enough to judge the product. People take disadvantage of this facility. They purchase the products and use it for 15 days and then if they feel it is not working for them they return it.
Do they get such facility when they shop at local stores? Do they have the guts to tell the shopkeeper after 15 days that your product is not working on me? When they return used product those products are no more in a condition to sell and we follow our selling policy stringently by not sending used products to our future customers.
Best marketplace is Amazon!
Amazon is quite transparent in every aspect of support needed by a seller. Their easy ship facility makes shipping fees clear while processing the orders unlike portals like Flipkart & Snapdeal who sometimes charge twice the amount reflected on the payment details you get weeks later.
Their payments are on time.
They have excellent seller support that doesn’t restrict them from calling back their clients if the connection is lost during a chat or call, which is made by Amazon on the click of a button displayed in their Seller Central panel. In the case of other portals, one has to either send email and generate a ticket or pay for the calls to speak directly to the seller support team.
They do not have manifest upload kind of rules, which irritates sellers.
What are the challenges you faced? How did you tackle?
I have faced a lot of issues with Snapdeal. After successful registration, I was able to list products only after 3 months. That too after I threatened to post my experience on social media. After that, my products were removed 3 times without any valid reason or logic. After a lot of follow up or maybe their mood allowed them, they listed them back.
I am still facing this issue, 18 out of 40 products have been removed and it’s been 3 months! Imagine the loss I have to incur because of their incompetent seller support or listing department.
Also, I face a lot of challenges in getting the advice or order details of the payment I receive from small time portals like Askmebazaar, infibeam.com, Tolexo.com, paytm.com etc.
All portals should have all the reports uploaded on their seller systems.
Marketplace response to concerns/Seller Support
How do you handle returns?
Haha. Every time I get returns my heart aches. The main reason is that 80% returns are not even opened, especially Flipkart and Snapdeal. We are still charged for the return-shipping fee.
I believe Shopclues is better in returns for sellers, may be not in favor of customers. They ask sellers to approve or disapprove the return. So if a customer has chosen wrong size, they can return the product but the seller is not charged for it. They only charge when the product is damaged.
How should marketplaces alter their return policies? Why?
- Make 30 days return policy reduced to one week after the delivery of the product similar to local shops. No one gives a time frame of more than a week.
- They shouldn’t charge sellers for returns where the reason is not “wrong product” or “damaged product”. Even if someone claims so, pictures should be shown from the customers & shared with the sellers.
What are 3 critical things a budding seller should be careful about when selling online?
Dispatch the orders within 2 days.
Make sure the packaging is good enough to sustain your product until it reaches the customer.
Check your returns immediately. In case the products are damaged raise the issue to the concerned portal that instant.