While some of the e-commerce portals in India like Flipkart, Adexmart source the product sold on their website from their vendors and then ship it to the buyer, most of the e-commerce sites in India like Ebay, Infibeam (for non-book products), Indiangiftsportal.com have the sellers directly ship the item to the buyer. In such cases, the website has little control over the quality of the product being delivered to the buyer, other than having a feedback system in which the buyers rate the sellers after a transaction is complete.
Ebay.in and Rediff.com are some of the websites with a feedback system which can be used by prospective buyers to determine the quality and service of a particular seller on the website. On ebay, only the buyer user id is shown, but on Rediff.com, the full name of a buyer is displayed in the feedback profile of a seller. This acts as a deterrant for buyers who value their privacy, so they may not rate the seller. On Ebay, the ratings can affect the status of an account and if your feedback ratings are low, your account may be suspended. On other e-commerce portals, the seller account may not be affected by the feedback given.
Since manpower costs in India are low, there are many non serious buyers on many websites, who sign up or create user accounts just to get the free stuff and incentives offered by these websites to new buyers. Some of these accounts are created by competitors who do not hesitate to use negative tactics to undermine other sellers. These buyers use a number of methods to harm genuine sellers such as
1. Not making payments after bidding on an item
2. Using fraudulent payment methods
3. Giving wrong address
4. Claiming non-receipt of the item, after receiving it
5. Leaving negative or neutral feedback
Though customers are important for the growth of any business, it is essential that any e-commerce website takes suitable steps to prevent these non-serious buyers from signing up at their website.
On the other hand, if a rival / competitor has sufficient funds they can ensure that the better sellers are deterred from selling online , by using negative tactics. When only a few sellers monopolize the market, they often send defective and faulty items to the unsuspecting buyer and increase their profit margins. In many cases, these sellers are well informed about the activities of regular buyers on the website and selectively target them. Only after the item is received the buyer realises that the seller has sent a poor quality product.
The buyer may leave negative feedback for the seller, but if there are only a few sellers in the market, the buyer may opt to purchase a product elsewhere in future. All the time, money and effort spent on marketing and promoting a particular website, to acquire a customer is wasted. So if an e-commerce website is to grow in India, it is important for them to identify their genuine customers and sellers and formulate their marketing and other policies accordingly.