Just like any other marketplace, Flipkart too has ‘no return’ categories such as lingerie, inner wear, wax, perfumes, deodorants, inks, gels, polish, liquids, personal hygiene and others. But the etailer has no introduced a ‘no refund’ policy for mobiles phones, large appliances, laptops, cameras, consumer electronics, entertainment small, gaming hardware, small home appliances, furniture, tablets and a host of other electronics.
Customers could request a replacement or get it repaired. After the 10 days returns window period, customers would have to contact the brands’ authorized service centres. Refund would be offered (by the seller) only in certain cases where the seller is unable to process a replacement.
After going through the refund/return policy, what’s clear is that Flipkart wants to discourage refund requests and encourage customers to either replace or repair the product or approach the brands directly.
Sellers have a reason to smile
IOS has published several seller stories about online marketplaces’ skewed return policies and the negative impact it has on sellers’ business. A considerable number of buyers take advantage of ecommerce companies’ no questions asked return policy, which results in huge returns and losses.
Therefore, Flipkart’s no refund policy would help sellers in reducing their returns.
Online sellers’ lobby group All India Vendors Association said, “This is a good move and will reduce the unwanted returns on the platform besides helping the sellers reduce their operational costs. In multiple instances customers would return product just to get refund. During a ten day window they would return the product on the tenth day.”
Would the shoppers stick around?
Sellers and Flipkart would definitely benefit from this change. Although, the big question is would buyers continue shopping on Flipkart?
The categories with no refund policy include Flipkart’s highest selling products such as mobile phones, large & small appliances and electronic accessories. Not to forget, buyers can’t try & buy unlike physical stores. This might discourage online shoppers to buy big-ticket items from Flipkart.
An ecommerce industry watcher said, “Flipkart’s new refund policy has come to our notice in the last 3-5 days. This can be best described as penny wise pound foolish. This may temporarily reduce the burn rate but will alienate customers in the long term.”
After acquiring eBay India, Flipkart is in the middle of finalizing Snapdeal acquisition deal. Myntra and Jabong are already in its kitty. The etailer has also been trying to get into sellers’ good books by slashing selling fees. But with such tight return policies, would Flipkart win ‘customers’ favourite’ title; a title that currently Amazon India has? Would the big ticket items (essential to reach to profitability) find any takers?