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E-commerce discounts, pricing difficult to control | DNA India

Talk of a possible revival of the e-commerce policy that was earlier scrapped by the government is making rounds in the ministry circles lately. The catch this time around is that the government could be including specific rules and regulations aimed at putting an end to the predatory pricing strategy, heavy discounting and distributing freebies approach adopted by the likes of Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart and Alibaba-backed Paytm among others to lure shoppers on their respective e-marketplaces.

Speaking to DNA Money, e-commerce industry experts said the government appears to be working on reviving the policy or certain parts of it. But can the government really tighten the reins of e-commerce players? “There’s no chance actually. I think it’s very impractical,” said K Vaitheeswaran, e-commerce pioneer and author of Failing to Succeed.

He said the government is not understanding the challenges of e-commerce operations management. “Physical retailers can only stock a few thousand stock keeping units (SKUs) compared to online sites that have millions of SKUs. So who is going to monitor the price and how will they do it? It’s practically impossible for anybody, including the government, to actually monitor prices,” said Vaitheeswaran.

In such a scenario, he said the only thing government can say is that you cannot sell below a certain price. “However, that’s also a very wrong thing to do from a business point of view. It’s not the government’s job to figure out pricing. Besides, why should the government bother at what price is Amazon or Flipkart selling a mobile phone or any other item on their website? I think they (government) should stay away from this,” said Vaitheeswaran, adding that the revival of the e-commerce policy could also be specifically aimed at benefitting the Indian e-commerce companies thereby going back to the protectionist economy of yesteryears.

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E-commerce discounts, pricing difficult to control.

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