Are manufacturers wary of online marketplaces?

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on February 19, 2014 Published on February 19, 2014

Lenovo, Toshiba caution buyers against three e-tailers

Cyber shoppers do not seem to share the concerns of consumer durable firms when it comes to buying products through online marketplaces.

Despite Lenovo and Toshiba removing three Indian e-tailers from their authorised sellers’ list, Mumbai-based architect Anagha Mujumdar, who is a regular visitor on online vendors, says she will continue to shop online for good deals. Dipankar Das, a techie from Bangalore, prefers buying online as these portals are fast in delivery and quick in replacing damage products.

Discount offers

Questioning the ability of Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon to offer heavily discounted prices, Lenovo had recently cautioned buyers. However, e-tailers see themselves as selling platforms that do not control prices of the goods they sell. Last year, Japanese camera-maker Nikon had removed Flipkart and Snapdeal from its authorised sellers’ list.

A spokesperson for Flipkart, the country’s largest e-commerce player, said the episode did not reduce customer traffic, even for Nikon products. However, the company introduced a stringent rating system for the sellers. So far, it has de-listed 60-odd sellers for selling fake products. Both Snapdeal and Flipkart have assured that they sell genuine products.

Meanwhile, the main worry of these consumer durable manufacturers has been the price factor.

According to them, the online players were selling their products at heavy discounts, thus impacting margins. However, e-tailers are of the view that online marketplaces are just a selling platform with no control over prices. Amazon did not offer any comment on the same, but it is also understood to have tested a rating system.

Flipkart’s assurance

Flipkart, which is readying itself for more web-first launches after the success of Moto G, has assured that Lenovo products selling on Flipkart were genuine and would continue to enjoy the warranty and services extended to all products as always. It had issued a similar statement for Nikon products also.

A few months ago, players like Nikon, BlackBerry, and Canon, along with some fashion brands, had initiated legal actions against a few portals.

However, this has had little impact on the e-commerce portals’ consumer traffic, experts say.

They also say the entire episode shows that brands can no longer ignore the presence of online players.

“E-tail’s growth, adoption and its impact on their overall business are now making many brands take this channel seriously. This is the onset of the phase when rules will begin to be defined” Pragya Singh (Associate Vice-President, Retail), Techonopak Advisory firm said.

Published on February 19, 2014
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