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Neutrality of E-Commerce Marketplace Important to Sellers – TECI Survey

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Neutrality of e-commerce marketplaces is important to sellers, and a large section believes that private labels offered by marketplaces create a “conflict of interest”, according to a survey by The E-Commerce Council of India (TECI).

According to the survey, 89 per cent of the respondents said neutrality of the marketplace was important as a core principle and that marketplaces should not have any of its own/related party sellers on the platform.

Also, 94 per cent felt that sellers controlled by the marketplace (through various arrangements) hurt the business of independent sellers on the platform.

“(About) 90 per cent respondents said private labels by marketplaces create a conflict of interest for the marketplace and that marketplaces should not be allowed to sell their private labels on their platform,” it said.

TECI LogoTECI, whose members include e-commerce platforms like Snapdeal, ShopClues and UrbanClap, conducted the survey to “understand the views of independent online sellers with regard to the emerging e-commerce policy issues”.

It saw participation from 541 respondents who were selling online for at least 12 months on at least two marketplaces, namely Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm Mall and ShopClues.

The survey found 89 per cent respondents saying the laws, rules and responsibilities for online sales should have parity with those for offline sales.

“This is on account of the fact that most online sellers buy and sell across both physical and online markets – different rules for parts of the same business add compliance complexity,” it said.

Almost all sellers agreed that counterfeits needed to be acted on effectively, while suggesting varying approaches to tackle the same.

“(About) 80 per cent of the sellers felt that marketplace should first inform the seller and then remove the listing from the marketplace. They opposed a course of action which involved informing the seller later after removing the listing or blacklisting the seller from the marketplaces – choices they felt were harsh and deny sellers a fair opportunity to present their facts before a decision is arrived at,” it said. PTI SR

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