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Are You An Online Shopper? Here's Some Good News... - Outside View by PersonalFN
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Are You An Online Shopper? Here's Some Good News...
Jul 17, 2017

"Customer is king!"

This has been the age-old business mantra introduced to service and sales professionals to improve the customers' experience. However, the concept of providing quality service has broadened and is no longer restricted to a one-time service experience. Rather, it is the practice to live upto the buyers' expectations every single time.

Surrounded by offers, both online and offline, are you on a shopping spree this season?

With exuberance in the market, citizens are sighting 'acche din' and the story of consumerism is gathering steam. But with changing times, the shopping preferences of Indian consumers are changing rather rapidly. Until recently, people were fascinated with shopping at big malls. While footfalls are still seen at malls, the buzz has shifted to the convenience of online shopping.

A few years ago, if you suggested buying traditional clothes online; a woman might have refused straight away. Buying apparels without physically checking the quality of it personally was considered imprudent. However, the trend of user-friendly mobile shopping applications has gone down so well, that now woman customers are comfortable buying clothes and jewellery online.

Of course, there have been instances of customers having sour experiences with these apps. For instance, many buyers complained about receiving food/products close to the expiry date, or at times, have even received products past the expiry date.

To resolve such complaints and protect the interest of online consumers, a notification dated June 23, 2017 has amended by the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) 2011 to bring e-commerce companies and online marketplaces under its purview. All e-commerce companies were notified that from January 1, 2018 they need to publish the expiry dates and maximum retail prices of the packaged products online.

The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2017 states, "An e-commerce entity shall ensure that the mandatory declarations as specified, except the month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or packed, shall be displayed on the digital and electronic network used for ecommerce transactions."

Also, the goods displayed by the sellers on e-commerce platform should contain all necessary declarations required under the rules like name & address of the manufacturer, packer and importer, name of the commodity, net content, retail sale price, consumer care complaint, dimension etc. Also, under this new regulation, companies will have to disclose the products' country of origin being sold online on their product pages.

Another breakthrough step is to improve the readability of the products specifications; the government has increased the font size of letters and numerals making the declaration.

e-market places such as Flipkart and Amazon India, who do not hold any inventory, will be held responsible to upload and present these detail requirements before dispatching them.

The new rule highlights that the "responsibility of the correctness of declarations lie with the manufacturer or seller or dealer or importer." Hence, irrespective of where the inventory is stored, the sellers will be held responsible for any kind of mis-selling or fraud.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry on July 06, 2017 started a new online community on Local Circles, a social networking site, to encourage consumers to discuss and give inputs related to MRP (maximum retail price). Many consumers have raised their issues and some have even provided solutions to fix them.

Benefit of this initiative

  • It will streamline the process of product pricing
  • A fair amount of product information will be displayed on all the products sold online
  • All the products will be sold at their MRP or below
  • No dual listing of MRP will be permitted. There have been complaints regarding dual MRP for items sold at public places like multiplexes, cinema halls, airport, malls, etc.

Are you on a shopping spree?

Recently, there was a hullaballoo and frantic stock clearance with GST- triggered sales offline and online.

What we are witnessing is that online shopping is gaining popularity among Indians and this is changing their buying preferences too. You see, online retailers have come up with very attractive offers, and in most cases, delivering the purchased merchandise on time. Many of them offer a "pay on delivery" / "cash on delivery" option. This enhances the shopper's experience and while all that's good, the question is: are you overindulging in such discounts and offers?

If yes, then it's time to rethink this.

Shopping may give you instant satisfaction, but ensure it doesn't take toll on your priorities. PersonalFN is of the view that, as much as earning good returns on your investments is important for you in the long run, curtailing avoidable expenses benefits your financial well-being.

Remember that shopping sprees triggered by sizable discounts means you are probably saving less and investing lesser. The "End of the Season" and "Stock clearance Sales" will continue year after year. To safeguard your financial health in the long run, it is imperative to save first, achieve financial security, and then spend on lifestyle wants and leisure. This does not mean sacrificing all your wants and desires, but it does mean planning for expenses in a prudent manner.

PersonalFN believes that if you chart out an appropriate financial plan and follow it with determination, you will not only be able to achieve your financial goals, but also enjoy a comfortable quality of life.

PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.

Disclaimer:

The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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