Do you remember the case of this young college student who managed to get his hands on a brand new iPhone 5S from Snapdeal only for Rs. 68? Yes, 99.7% discount! How? Due to a ‘technical glitch’.
Snapdeal refused to dispatch the phone stating it was a slip-up and not a real offer. The boy approached State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, which ordered Snapdeal to not only deliver the phone but also pay Rs. 2000 fine. Snapdeal appealed against the verdict but it was squashed.
Here’s the thing though. The buyer got his way. The marketplace had the energy and time to fight for an iPhone and defend a ‘technical glitch.’ But Snapdeal and other ecommerce leaders Amazon, Flipkart and Shopclues don’t pay attention to such errors on their respective marketplaces that are costing online sellers a lot of money along with affecting their ratings and reputation.
The many ‘technical glitches’
For an industry that is entirely based on technology, Indian ecommerce companies sure face many technological errors. A minor hiccup here and there is accepted. But what happens when none of the etailers acknowledges or tries to control these malfunctions?
The wrong shipping charges glitch
Indian Online Seller published this report last month about how Snapdeal sellers are losing money due to incorrect shipping charges. The marketplace often blames technical snag for this blunder. But a company that has kept a staggering $200 million aside for logistics, why haven’t they fixed this issue?
We highlighted only few cases but one can read the comments below the article to understand that it isn’t a one off case.
The auto cancelation orders glitch
This is the latest one. So far, Amazon and Shopclues sellers have complained about it. Orders are cancelled due to a malfunction in the system but sellers are penalized for not fulfilling orders, which they never got a chance to fulfill. The result? Being awarded the dreaded ‘bad account’ seller status.
An Amazon seller, JM-INC wrote on the marketplace’s forum,
“Almost 27 orders have been automatically removed from order panel may be due to technical issue in portal. Those orders have been considered as Pre fulfilment Cancellation by seller and seller metrics is badly affected. Seller has to pay 2.5% Cancellation charges which he has not done.”
The seller added that if he himself had cancelled the orders like the seller panel reflects then why would he have informed the support team. Valid point, isn’t it? He insists that the orders were cancelled automatically and that seller performance team hasn’t been able to help him
Amazon’s team did reply in the forum but they claim,
“that auto-cancellation happens in case of expired orders.”
To this the seller replied,
“First of all there was some technical issue of portal. We know the Value of Timely execution of orders for best buyer experience, and we always maintain that , but in my case this is not the case. In fact all my 191 listing have become inactive automatically which I have to do active again one by one manually. For which I spoken to Amazon seller support and they agree that it could happen due to technical error. I have been penalised with bad account status despite being working hard and genuine.”
So you see, Amazon did admit the technical error at one point but the seller is yet to receive any solution.
“I understand that this an unfortunate situation and we have reached out to the relevant teams for the further investigation,” was the seller support team’s last reply on the forum.
Meanwhile, the seller must be wondering why he lost 34 orders (7 more were auto-cancelled besides the 27) in just 1 month & all his 191 listing is inactive due to marketplace’s error and will it be rectified ever.
The delay in delivery and pickup glitch
Flipkart is guilty of doing this.
We all know how crucial timely delivery is in the online shopping world. Sellers are advised to pack & ship the orders within 24-48 hours. But what if there’s a delay from the etailer’s end like in case of Flipkart?
Many vendors have alleged that they are facing high order cancellations due to delay in delivery and pickup by Ekart, the ecommerce biggie’s logistic arm. Because of the marketplace’s mistake, sellers have to bear the financial loss. Wrong shipping charges is another issue that Flipkart sellers are currently dealing with besides unfair returns policy.
Don’t believe us? See the comments below this IOS article.
Seller performance metrics on the line
IOS has shared several tips & tricks for sellers to improve their online selling experience.
Right from simple ways to retain customers, stand out in a crowded marketplace, tips for creating better customer shopping experience and building core team, IOS has consistently tried to help sellers by sharing useful ideas.
However, technical snags on online marketplaces can nullify sellers’ effort. That too for no fault of theirs. How discouraging that can be, right? Sellers are not only losing money on current sales but are also losing potential business due to low ratings, all thanks errors on online portals.
Delay in shipping & delivery? Buyers leave negative reviews. Too many cancelled orders? Seller’s rating & performance report is slashed down. Negative seller metrics? Drop in sales. The vicious cycle continues.
The All India Online Vendor Association (AIOVA) wants to ask Flipkart,
“Flipkart being a technology company, why such technological glitches are cropping up every few months? Is this the case with sellers WS Retail (Flipkart) and Vector Ecommerce (Myntra) also?”
The association’s next question is,
“As Flipkart has acknowledged the glitch, and it is using sellers’ money for the time being, will it pay interest until the refund is made? Sellers are borrowing huge money for selling online. Many loans have been mediated through agencies of Flipkart. Previous demand for interest has been rejected.”
Indian Online Seller emailed the above questions to Flipkart, but in spite of the repeated assurances, they haven’t got back to us yet.
Sellers’ biggest concern is will they ever be reimbursed for the huge financial loss? Will the negative ratings, points and penalties be rolled back? Will marketplaces inform buyers that it was their mistake and not sellers?
The Bansals of Flipkart swiftly replied & apologized after reading a buyer’s open letter criticizing the portal. Why haven’t they replied to a seller’s open letter? Why this disparity in treatment?
These questions apply to other marketplaces Shopclues, Snapdeal and Amazon as well. Will any of them be willing to answer the above questions? Sellers are waiting.