Traders to keep an eye on Independence Day sales by e-commerce companies

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In the run-up to the finalisation of the e-commerce policy for the digital retail and technology sectors, traders, retailers, and other stakeholders affected by the onslaught of online marketplace firms are gathering as much evidence against them as they can against these players. 

In the hope of having a balanced policy, that would help the whole retail sector and not just a few Indian firms,  traders are planning to keep a strict vigil of the upcoming Independence Day (I-Day) sale. The plan is to make a dossier of the deep discounting tactics companies such as Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm Mall use. 

It would be later sent to the commerce ministry as well as the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, highlighting the deep discounting tactics used by the firms. 

This dossier, they hope, would be taken into consideration when the government finally formulates the e-commerce policy, so that it is not tilted towards certain companies or sectors. Amazon India, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall are all having an I-Day sale.

“It is important that these companies do not continue with the deep discounting tactics that they have been following for more than a decade. We will have teams to monitor the sales and will keep a track of the discounts they are all offering. Finally a report would be made and sent to the commerce ministry and various departments in the finance ministry so that they take note of the modus operandi of these firms, before they formulate a policy for the sector,” said Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal.

The draft e-commerce policy, which contains the recommendations of mostly e-commerce players such as Ola, Paytm, companies such as MakeMyTrip, has left a host of other stakeholders dissatisfied, with many complaining it to be one-sided and favouring Indian firms.

Global investors, including SoftBank Group, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and others, are all planning to build a common front to take on the draft e-commerce policy which they believe is heavily tilted towards Indian founders of the firms they have invested in. 

Experts believe that while these companies have Indian founders, they are run mostly with the money brought from foreign investors. So having a ‘protectionist’ attitude after selling stake to expand firms is unfair. The task force that has formulated the draft policy consists of founders and senior management executives of companies, including Ola, MakeMyTrip, Zoho, UrbanClap, Paytm, Snapdeal, among others.   

Many believe that the idea of founders having total control of the company with even minor stake holding will disrupt the decision-making process which at the moment is taken by the board of directors, keeping in mind the interest of all parties.

Between August 10 and August 15, Amazon India, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall all are having their sales. 

These three firms are giving away as much as 80 per cent discounts.

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