According to the sellers group behind the #OnlineDharna movement, it is now time for the second phase of their campaign. That is increase prices on the marketplace.
Does this mean they’re giving in?
The new Flipkart fee structure and policies includes the following new charges:
Sellers have to charge more to avoid running into losses as a result. After the stock out movement on Monday, Flipkart sellers have increased their product prices.
Does this mean they are throwing in the towel?
Certainly not! This is just phase 2 of the online dharna. To understand the next step of this protest IOS asked the eSellerSuraksha (ESS) about their new course of action.
“20 June was only about reducing stocks to zero. As of 21 June online sellers participating in this protest have increased their prices. The price hikes have been determined based on the fees introduced by Flipkart and based on a survey by ESS 60% of sellers are no longer willing to work with Flipkart,” said Sanjay Thakur, president of ESS.
He says online sellers are no longer getting the kind of orders they used to on Flipkart. However, Flipkart claims to have witnessed and increase in sales, especially on 20 June.
In response to this Thakur said, “How can the boss tell his employees he messed up? Flipkart believes it has the loyalty of its buyers. But the truth is these buyers are only loyal to the marketplace’s discounts and low prices. With the implementation of the new fee structure and policies sales will fall drastically.”
Flipkart isn’t feeling the pressure?
The online marketplace still isn’t feeling the pressure after shifting the expenses for product returns onto the seller and increasing commissions. The ecommerce platform doesn’t feel a hand full of sellers engaging in a strike could make a dent.
After the online dharna and stock out attempts, Flipkart stated that it has received positive response towards its new policy. The etailer continues to favour the new policy and the restructured commissions.
Online sellers have said many things about new policy from Flipkart.
A seller on ESS said, “For my category which has at least 15% return ratio and may go up to 20% this will kill the whole selling proposition. I need to increase my prices by at least 15% to cover up the losses now onwards.”
The seller also asks, “Why is the return ratio is highest in Flipkart compared to other Marketplaces? I sell same product at same price in other marketplaces too but my returns are double in Flipkart. Earlier i used to ignore it but now i cannot. Rs. 187 charged for a return shipment is too much for 15% of my dispatches. It increases my cost of product by Rs. 38/- for every successful sales taking into account 10% RTO.”
Another seller mentions their love for the marketplace and how they want to see the Indian marketplace prosper in the ecommerce industry. It is the marketplace that needs to cut down irrational product returns, encourage interactions between the buyer and seller and start charging consumer for the COD option.
Flipkart seller, Aditya Agarwal said, “Although the return shipment charges would push up the cost by about 3-4%, it is a standard practice across marketplaces. Flipkart initially was taking the burn on itself but now has started passing back some cost to the seller. And as the industry matures, we should expect more such changes.” The fashion and lifestyle category seller isn’t against the Flipkart policy that enforces price hikes. He feels this move is a standard marketplace practice.
What do you feel Indian online sellers, should you increase prices in protest or out the need to support Flipkart?