The marketplace model of business shot into fame and made its mark due to all the online sellers selling on the various platforms. But now that there are unpleasant changes in this important marketplace-seller equation, how does the online retail ecosystem get affected?
Online seller Mayank Goyal lets us in on his opinions on the equation and more, and we are quite sure many others feel the same.
So many problems for sellers..
.. But no solution in sight!
No one is making profits – Marketplaces already levy such heavy commission and logistics charges. With the added burden of product returns, we are operating on minimal margins.
Limitations on dispatch/order flow – Due to constraints on their end, order flow and order dispatches per day are limited. This means added delivery time and we know customers won’t wait for too long for their purchases.
Marketplace fulfillment is unreasonable – When we raise concern about the above, we are advised to join their fulfillment service but it has so many problems – higher charges, unjust penalties, withholding payments and stock, etc.
Too lenient Return policy – Sellers are completely sidelined and returns are accepted without any questions to customers.
No reconciliation statements – When they have details of sales and payments done by sellers, why not just give periodical reconciliation statements so sellers can tally their accounts? Even TDS amounts are not given on time.
Manipulation of account status – Without prior intimation or warning, our accounts are kept on hold, pending or blacklisted. They don’t accept the manual bills we provide which have TIN number, address and signatures. They insist on computerized bills when Sales Tax authorities want bill from binding book. Are they above government and sales tax authorities?
Fraud buyers on the rise – When unethical sellers increased, they started checking for genuine sellers. But now when fraud customers are increasing, they are not taking any rectification measures.
Top 3 changes from marketplace for seller
- Fast payments – Marketplaces hold back on payments without valid reasons, which affects the operations of sellers.
- Approved returns process – Just to keep customers happy, marketplaces approve returns without checking with sellers about the condition of the returned products. Even if we raise claims for damage, they pay only a partial amount, which might not even cover the cost prices of the products.
- Turn Around Time (TAT) – Sometimes our orders are cancelled because marketplaces take time to respond to queries. It then becomes an SLA breach due to which auto-cancellations occur.
Worst portal is Snapdeal
- They don’t make payments on time and always give the same reason, technical issue. But when they have to take amount from seller, eg. For sellers, they don’t seem to have this technical issue!
- Catalog can go out of stock at any moment without prior notification to sellers.
- Returns are accepted from customers without checking the products. If the product is wrong or damaged, seller has to raise dispute. It takes 2-3 payment cycles to get the issues resolved, if they do get resolved.
- Irrelevant penalties are levied on sellers by manipulating their accounts, just so payments don’t have to be done.
- Reconciliation statements are never provided, even if asked.
They have not paid us for the last 3-4 payment cycles. Maybe they have cash crunch, but is that our fault?
Worst policy ever for any seller ..
Flipkart’s SPF claim. Supposedly for the benefit of sellers, this is solely for the benefit of Flipkart. Most times, we get amounts that are below cost price and even in (-)! [Yes, you read it right.] Here’s one instance:
I shipped two sippers in the same package to a customer. She replaced with cheap ones and returned citing one as misshipment and the other as quality issue. I raised my concern in Seller Support with images and videos, and they realized the customer had cheated. When I raised SPF claim (invoice amount of Rs 920), they sanctioned Rs 324 on which marketplaces fee was charged and I ended up getting only Rs 144 for 2 products!
Does Flipkart think we get products for free from our suppliers? They want us to provide discounts, good packaging, competitive prices, quality products at reasonable prices. But dear “Bansals” we are not doing Samaj Seva!
Merchant undertaking in Paytm
According to Paytm’s Merchant Undertaking, they will take legal action if customer or sellers receives empty parcel. But question is, how will Paytm know who is the culprit? Answer, they will not bother checking!
Like others, Paytm also wants customers so they blindly believe what they say without checking with sellers first. Had the pickup person checked box when collecting from customer, there would be more clarity. But when that’s not being done, why should sellers face the heat and legal actions?
When it’s clear that customers are the culprits in the case of excessive returns, why should sellers still suffer?
We know that marketplaces are facing a funding crunch now because of which our payments are being withheld. Policies keep changing everyday and complaints take months to be resolved.
Suggestions/Advice to new sellers
Always give quality products to build goodwill with customers and to avoid returns.
Be conscious of payments and check transactions daily.
Avoid sending products to marketplace warehouses.
If you find a mistake, don’t hesitate in doing #jhand of these marketplaces.
Disclaimer: Thoughts/opinions mentioned in this article are solely of the seller.