Why Consumer Electronics Companies in India need to be sued!

Consumer fury over Flipkart’s Big Billion Day Sale Fiasco hadn’t even died down and it seems, Flipkart is in the crosshair of another group, this time, Consumer Electronic Companies. Which are appalled by the fact that consumers are able to buy their products at a huge discount, thereby leading to fewer sales in retail stores.

flipkart-on-target Now even though Flipkart is only selling products from these companies and thereby helping grow their bottom line, these companies aren’t happy. Because as per a senior official from leading electronic company, Flipkart is “”not playing fair. They are damaging our brand and killing the organized retail, which provides livelihood to lakhs of people.”*

While I am not sure how Flipkart can damage a brand by selling its products at a discount, but I guess they feel anyone who buys their products at a discount, is unworthy of owning their product.

Another senior executive from another company has said, “These goods are being sold through unauthorized channel partners, which is like buying from the grey market. How can we provide a service cover?”*

Once again, I am not quite sure how a product, being sold and marketed by an Indian Consumer Electronic Company can become a gray market product, if it is sold to end consumer by Flipkart, even though it remains a “white market product” if it is sold by an offline store. I mean it isn’t like Flipkart is importing container full of electronic products from countries like China and Taiwan, like most gray market vendors do!

Furthermore, I am not quite sure why these companies are jumping into this issue, while this matter at best is a dispute between Online and Offline retailers.

Also if these companies do not want their products to be sold below a certain price, why don’t they start publishing Minimum Retail Price along with Maximum Retail Price on their product, so that a consumer can see what is the maximum discount he/she can get?

As far as offline retailers are concerned, they really need to pull up their act, if they want to compete and prosper, without the protection of such companies. For starter, they need to stop fooling customers eg. quoting higher than MRP value of the product to customer, then making it seem like they are giving discount, even though they are selling at higher or similar price as company’s official website. They also need to start paying attention to customers service eg. if 4 employees chat while a customer asks repeatedly for something, wastes 5 minutes without getting any help and then walks out, then chances are he isn’t going to come back to store or for that matter recommend it to anyone else (both actual incidents, which have occurred with me. )

As far as companies are concerned, they need to start focusing on R&D, marketing and customer service, rather than worry about where a customer buys their product from!

*Source: Times of India.


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