Indian ecommerce industry has made several records so far. From the biggest mergers to the largest single day sales, online retail has created and broken numerable records. But the latest one is not something that the ecommerce firms would be proud of.
According to the data provided by the National Consumer Helpline, a staggering 28,000 consumer complaints were registered against ecommerce companies between November 2016 and March 2017. That’s right, over 28,000 grievances in just 5 months!
Project Director at National Consumer Helpline Suresh Mishra revealed,
“Over the last year, more and more people have started shopping online and so, there is an increase in complaints against ecommerce companies. This category currently has the highest share of complaints at the helpline.”
Nature of the complaints includes:
- Non-delivery and late delivery of products
- Defective products
- Wrong products
- Refund issues
- False promises, misleading ads
- Money deducted, product not delivered
The rising number of complaints indicates that lack of ecommerce-specific rules and regulations has led to formation of many fraud ecommerce shopping portals that fool gullible buyers. These days it has become easy to make shady websites with unsecured payment gateways to cheat unassuming shoppers.
“Misrepresentative ads, unfair marketing practices are at times used to attract customers. The number of complaints received at the helpline also shows that selling inferior and spurious products is also rampant. There is no regulator monitoring this sector, therefore policies and guidelines to protect consumers are the need of the hour,” Mishra said.
Flipkart innovates to attract first-time online buyers
We are sure that out of the 28,000 complaints, Flipkart accounted for a considerable percentage. After all, the etailer had bagged the 4th position in the ‘most complained against Indian etailers’ list.
With its current buyers’ base miffed, Flipkart is busy building new strategy to woo online shopping debutantes. The etailer has narrowed down on no-cost equated monthly instalments (EMIs), product exchange and buybacks schemes as tools to attract new buyers. These schemes found many takers during their recently concluded Big 10 sale. Nearly 70% of smartphone buyers used one of the three options while shopping at the online marketplace.
Ranjith Boyanapalli, VP – Products at Flipkart said,
“Flipkart has always been at the forefront of innovating and thinking of how to lower the cost of ownership for consumers. We were the first to come out with cash on delivery (COD) and that helped build consumers trust, during the Big 10 sale we saw assured buybacks doing that… Product exchange helps lower the cost of upgrading and assured buyback takes that to the next level, by promising users a fixed price up front when they’re buying the device.”
Focusing on low-cost customer acquisition strategies would definitely help Flipkart to shift towards a healthy business model. But would it help to reduce the number of consumer complaints? Will the marketplace do something about fraud selling practices and promises?