Ease of doing business for MSMEs: While it is usual for e-commerce firms to face customer wrath for shipping wrong or defective product, a number of customers believe the onus lies on online sellers as well who sell on e-commerce marketplaces. A consumer survey of 504 shoppers on Thursday said 41 per cent of respondents believed e-commerce websites as well as sellers of the product should be held liable if customers get a damaged, bad or wrong product. “From this, it appears that due to the involvement of two parties, that is, the seller and the e-commerce platform, the consumers are mostly unaware of who is responsible for such instances,” the survey by research firm CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition said.
Between the e-commerce portal and the seller, the survey noted that 35 per cent of respondents said the portal should be responsible while 17 per cent maintained that seller should be called out in such a situation.
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However, not all would be willing to report a bad e-commerce delivery. The survey noted that 50 per cent of respondents said that if they received a counterfeit product from an e-commerce website, they would file a complaint on the website or with the consumer protection forum. In comparison, 26.9 per cent of respondents said they would not buy any product from the website while 19.4 per cent said they will ignore the counterfeit product and buy the one they believe is genuine.
Dr Arvind Mayaram, former Finance Secretary of India, and Chairman, CIRC, said, “To keep up with the rapid digitization and spur the transition of consumers from offline to online, it is important for sellers to build and enhance product trust so that they can build consumer loyalty and grow their business.” He added that government policies also impact how consumers are served. Therefore, policymakers must work towards building a conducive policy framework that doesn’t overburden the growth of the ecosystem with regulations and also strengthens consumer protection.
When it comes to factors that help in making a purchase decision from online retailers, price followed by product quality assurance, customer service, delivery and customer reviews appeared to be the top five factors, the survey said.
Owing to the increasing internet user base and favourable market conditions, India’s e-commerce industry in India was approximately $22 billion in 2018 and $99 billion in 2022, according to the data platform Statista. The sector is estimated to reach $350 billion by 2030. Moreover, as per a recent study by management consulting firm Bain & Company and e-commerce company Flipkart, the online seller growth in the country has outpaced the e-retail market growth, with the number of sellers increasing by 35 per cent annually.
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