There’s always the other side to every story. On the one hand, online retail is witnessing exponential growth, the rising numbers of online sellers testimony to that. While on the other, there is increase in the fakes and counterfeit products being sold in the online space, as also blunders in terms of delivery mishaps. Honest mistake or on purpose, we might never know.
In one of our earlier IOS articles, we talked about how much marketplaces could intervene to avoid unpleasant experience for customers. From what we hear now, Amazon India has taken steps in the same direction:
The ecommerce giant will leverage on technology to separate good sellers from the bad. It conducts mystery-shopping tests, wherein it will order products from sellers and check if they are sticking to the standards demanded by the etailer.
“Based on the activities sellers do, you are able to predict how they would do in the future and, of course, if there is a bad customer experience, you are able to predict that. So one thing we’ve done is, we’ve taken all of that and we’ve deployed it in India. If we see that there is a risk (that a seller may not match its standards or may be fraudulent) but we are not convinced there is a risk, we’ll mystery shop ourselves,” Amit Deshpande, Director-Amazon Seller Services said.
Teams have been set up in around 17 cities to recruit and train sellers to sell online.
It ties up with independent entrepreneurs who can be trained in ecommerce, who then help sellers to manage orders, list products etc. Currently, there are about 500 freelancers on board.
To support and scale up, Amazon’s logistics service has been built sturdy and solid, and they deliver about 90% of products sold on the portal.
Since it started operations in India in June 2013, it has raced on equal footing with homegrown etailers and close rivals, Flipkart and Snapdeal. Currently, Amazon India has more than 23,000 sellers.
Marketplaces have woken up to the fact that stricter checks and regulations need to be levied on sellers on their respective platforms to ensure customers remain happy. Even one blunder makes its way into the social media space the next minute and obviously no one has control over what happens next.
So it’s very crucial for an etailer to monitor a seller’s performance and weed out the unethical ones. Even a single fake product can affect an etailer’s brand image.
So far, while goof-ups by Snapdeal and Flipkart have been plastered all over the internet, it is interesting to note that we have not heard of anything negative about Amazon.
Amazon understands that the marketplace model is still new to Indian sellers and most of them lack the knowledge and technical expertise. So it takes extra care to monitor seller performances.
How does Amazon take care of sellers on its platform?
Amazon recognizes that around 80% of sellers on its platform receive at least one order every month.
“It’s not just about just registering sellers or launching them, it’s about making them successful, making it sustainable because sellers are doing this because they want sales and profits. We have seen upwards of 8,000 sellers coming through self-service registration (SSR— where sellers register on Amazon). Our largest sellers who have come through SSR have done more than Rs.1 crore of business,” Deshpande said.
“Amazon can use data analytics and other technology to help improve seller performance, but there’s only a limited amount of effect that it can have,” said Harminder Sahni, managing director at Wazir Advisors. “India is at a very early stage in e-commerce, and sellers are simply not professional or knowledgeable enough to understand how to maximize performance. This is a problem all online marketplaces face and, in India, more so, because the market is in an early stage.”
After dwindling with her family business, into travel and hospitality, for more than 3 years, Pooja Vishant found her true love in writing. Happy-go-lucky and cheerful, she loves pink; so pink is the way to go if you want to get into her good books. The Associate Editor keeps track of even a leaf that has moved in the ecommerce world!