The new e-commerce policy, which barred deep discounts and cashback on online shopping portals, shocked patrons across India. According to a survey by LocalCircles, while consumers believe the sector requires better governance and regulation, they are not ready to part with the attractive offers yet.
The new e-commerce policy was enacted to protect the interests of small, local businessmen who accused online portals of stealing their business through predatory pricing and heavy discounts.
Nearly 60 percent respondents did not want a check on cashbacks and 72 percent opposed the ban on discounts.
Consumers believe the online portals must be held more accountable for customer complaints and how they are dealt with. Shoppers want websites to make sure fake products aren’t sold on their platform. Close to 78 percent of the respondents believe counterfeit activity on e-commerce sites would reduce if details of the vendors like GSTIN, address etc would be listed on the portal.
About 35 percent of the respondents said the primary reason for them to shop online was convenience and 26 percent said it was discounted prices. Product variety and fast delivery are other factors that come into play.
The survey also shows that consumers want to subject social media websites like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to such policies as they have become popular means to run businesses, and peer-to-peer selling must be checked.
Sellers on these platforms feel the same way, member of an online seller group told The Economic Times. They only demand regulations on discriminatory discounting and are not against the practice of discounting.
Devangshu Dutta, CEO of management consultancy Third Eyesight, told the paper that the only positive for customers in the new policy will be that competition will lead to a wider product range for them.
He added that the consumer protection infrastructure in India is very weak and customers have to bear huge costs for the process of approaching a company that has wronged them.― Moneycontrol