Cracking the whip: E-comm policy to deal with online counterfeits

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 29, 2019

New Delhi: The upcoming e-commerce policy will make it tougher for sellers to peddle fakes online. The policy, likely to be out in March, will detail a plan of action for consumers and companies to deal with counterfeit products sold online.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is looking at various ways through which fakes sold on e-marketplaces can be curbed. Officials said the department will study the recent steps proposed by the US to curb counterfeit imports through third-party sales on online retailers.

“The e-commerce policy will certainly deal with counterfeits,” said an official in the know of the details.

The official added that the department would examine the American policy which proposes higher oversight of US warehouses and ramped up fines and penalties for violations. The new US strategy is to shift the liability for counterfeit goods from third parties to e-commerce platforms.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) wants similar measures for the Indian e-commerce market. India’s draft national e-commerce policy released last year had extensively talked of online counterfeits and called it a “worrisome trend”.
It had prescribed anti-counterfeiting measures such as asking e-commerce entities to publicly share all relevant details of sellers who make their products available on their platforms of. It mandated all sellers/retailers to furnish an undertaking of genuineness of products to the platforms and asked the platforms to make these accessible to consumers.

“Mechanisms to enable trademark owners (and licensees) to be informed about any possible counterfeit product being sold on a platform have been included in the policy,” the department had said in the draft wherein it asked platform to seek authorisation from trademark owners before listing high value goods, cosmetics or goods having impact on public health on their websites.

Competition Commission of India pitches for self-regulation of ecomm platforms

Source: ETRetail.com, Jan 09, 2019

NEW DELHI: India’s competition watchdog has called for clear policies on deep discounts and transparency in seller ratings by large ecommerce companies, in what could have significant implications for etailers such as Amazon and Flipkart.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday unveiled a set of self-regulation guidelines for the ecommerce sector, along with the findings of an ecommerce market study it initiated in April last year. “Bring out clear and transparent policies on discounts, including inter alia (among other things) the basis of discount rates funded by platforms for different products/suppliers and the implications of participation/non-participation in discount schemes,” the report titled “Market Study on ecommerce in India: Key Findings and Observations” said.

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Amazon India inks two long-term agreements with Future Retail, FCL

Source: Business Standard, Jan 06, 2020

New Delhi: Amazon India on Monday said it has entered into long-term business agreements with Future Group for expanding the reach of the latter’s retail stores and consumer brands through its online marketplace. The development comes after Amazon had agreed to buy 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons Ltd that in turn holds stake in Future Retail Ltd (FRL) last year.

“FRL and Amazon India signed two agreements focusing on key categories – grocery and general merchandise, and fashion and footwear,” according to a statement released Monday.

Amazon India will also become the authorised online sales channel for FRL stores, and FRL will ensure participation of its relevant stores and programmes on the Amazon India marketplace, it added. Read the rest of this entry »

Reliance sets up Jiomart to sell grocery online soon

Source: ETRetail.com, Dec 31, 2019

MUMBAI: Reliance Industries, India’s biggest company by market value, has started its web portal Jiomart, harnessing the might of its two largest consumer-facing businesses to announce its entry into online food and grocery shopping by early next year.

The app will connect both lastmile neighbourhood stores and consumers, leveraging data and technology capabilities of Reliance’s telecom business Jio and the cash-and-carry infrastructure of its retailing arm.

According to officials, the new venture will be an aggregator where it will partner local grocers and equip them with points of sale (PoS) terminals, low interest working capital, inventory management skills, and GST compliance. Read the rest of this entry »

E-tailers buck the slowdown blues

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Dec 27, 2019

Bengaluru: Bucking the economic slowdown led by tepid consumer sentiment across consumer goods, retail and other industry sectors, the Indian consumer Internet industry grew 38 per cent, exiting 2019 at $76 billion and is set to exceed $100 billion in 2020.

Consumers, who chose to cut down on overall and discretionary spend, loosened their purse-strings only during big sale days that dotted the year, from the Republic Day sale in January right up to the annual blockbuster Diwali sale, which saw e-tailers rake in a record $3 billion in the first 6 days of the festive sale month with high-ticket categories such as mobiles, electronics, large appliances and home decor registering a 3-4X jump in sales.

Good year

“Despite a tough macro-economic environment e-tailing fared well in 2019 for two major reasons. First, during challenging times, consumers look for better value which e-tailers created with multiple affordability initiatives including cashbacks, private labels, no-cost EMIs etc. Second, as a result of non-metro customers migrating to online shopping driven by the strong value proposition provided by e-tailers this year, the online shopper base from Tier-2 plus cities grew to 50 per cent compared to 40 per cent in 2017,” said Ujjwal Chaudhry, Associate Partner, RedSeer Consulting.

Convenience matters

Online shoppers, who are deal seekers, are also looking for convenience, says Kunal Gupta, Head E-Commerce, Nielsen, South Asia. “There is a phenomenon of ‘prime time’ that is apparent in digital shoppers today; with 23 per cent sales happening between 8 pm and 11 pm and a third of the sales coming through the course of the night, reinforcing consumers’ quest for convenience with anytime, anywhere access to the shopping cart,” he said.

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Amazon, Flipkart planning to help SMEs go digital and grow their businesses

Source: Business Standard, Dec 10, 2019

New Delhi / Bengaluru: American rivals Walmart and Amazon are finally walking the common line, at least while dealing with small traders and corner stores in India. Having faced the heat from domestic trader lobbies, Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart on Monday organised two separate events to spread the word that they would help small and medium enterprises go up the tech ladder and grow their business.

This follows a series of protests by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Swadeshi Jagaran Manch against e-commerce companies, saying they had adversely hit the business of offline traders and physical retailers. Judith McKenna, president and chief executive officer, Walmart International, said a plan, ‘Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development Program’, will be launched to provide business-development training to 50,000 SMEs over the next five years.

Twenty-five institutes will be set up across the country to train micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). “This is part of the company’s plan to source more from small businesses,” said McKenna.

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Govt to push MSME-made goods through e-tailers

Source: ETRetail.com, Dec 09, 2019

NEW DELHI: The government plans fee-based arrangements with marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart for pushing goods produced by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), while eyeing a tie-up with a financial sector entity to boost business-to-business (B2B) sales by small enterprises.

The moves signal that the MSME ministry may have given up plans to set up its own platform, which is seen to be unviable. Soon after Nitin Gadkari took charge, the ministry had approached government e-marketplace (GeM), the public procurement platform to set it up.

GeM advised against the move and suggested private players be roped in to make the system efficient, said sources familiar with the discussions.

Apart from helping them fetch more orders from both consumers and other businesses, this will help these enterprises make a smooth transition into India’s booming e-commerce space.

Sources said internal discussions have been held and one suggestion is to pay Amazon and Flipkart to on-board MSME units, which often find it difficult to push their products to consumers. If a seller exits the platform after six months, a part of the fee may have to be refunded, but the money will not be paid back to the government in case the seller sticks to selling via the marketplace for, say, two years, explained an official.

On the B2B side, the proposed platform will also provide funds and have access to cash flows, helping buffer businesses against shocks. Funding and payments have been a major area of concern for MSMEs and the government is looking at models that can help MSMEs. In recent years, there have been attempts to get artisans and weavers online for which the textiles ministry had launched an initiative in 2015.