Success of E-Commerce Led Digital India To Bring Trust on Consumers and Justify PM Modi’s Vision
Platforms like Amazon are working towards increasing trust with enhanced product safety and reliable delivery: Experts
In today’s digital world, goods and services are accessible at a click of a button from not just local, but also national and international sellers. E-commerce has altered the way most people shop. One can go to an e-commerce website, select a product, feed in one’s address and payment details, and make a purchase, all without ever seeing or interacting with the seller. Therefore, it is key to ensure that customers can trust these digital “sellers” and be assured that the “product” selected is the right one.
Consumers and their buying behavior have evolved drastically in the past decade. Therefore, it becomes pertinent to enquire about the driving motivations, hesitations, and experiences of the consumers while making a purchase online. In online shopping, we see the display pictures of the product, description of its features and quality, read the reviews and ratings, and make purchase decisions, factoring all these inputs. The degree of trust that goes into making a purchase online involves factors like the genuineness and the quality of the product, safe and secure delivery, viable return policy in case of damaged or unfit goods, etc. There are also a wide variety of sellers and goods to choose from, as the supply chain is much bigger in e-commerce channels. This increases the components to keep in mind and diversifies the responsibility of accountability.
CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC), a not for profit and independent research and capacity-building organisation, conducted a webinar on “Evaluation of Product Trust in the Age of E-commerce” to understand the factors that contribute to building product trust and the policy framework required to support e-commerce platforms and sellers in fostering consumer trust. Speaking at this, Dhanendra Kumar, Former Chairman, Competition Commission of India, highlighted “The draft e-commerce rules issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs had some elements like mandatory disclosure and presence of nodal officers that can enhance the trust of consumers but it contained some elements that are restrictive and had overreach that would be detrimental to the growth of the e-commerce platform. For instance, the allback liability that would hold a marketplace without inventories liable for mis-selling of the third party sellers. it is not conducive and not attractive for investors as well.”
Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chairman, Institute for Competitiveness stated that “Trust in e-commerce platforms like Amazon gets embedded at multiple levels. If Amazon is delivering, it impacts the enterprise and the platform itself. We are moving into a spectrum where trust is the underlying principle because that is the very nature itself or the service itself. Biggest problem is if we lose trust in the online world, the effects are brutal.”
Anil Rajput, Senior Vice President, ITC Limited and Chairman, FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities) said “Ultimately the top driver for consumer decisions are 4 things- safety, value, convenience and availability. This determines consumer buying behavior. Whether buying offline or online, the drivers of decisions will remain the same. So when shopping online, the trust and the consistency of the delivery is important.”
Thampy Koshy, CEO, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) highlighted “It is the duty of the platforms to bring responsible participants. For example, the mall operator has to bring in responsible sellers in the mall but at the same time they are not responsible for the product. So there is a need to differentiate between the responsibility of bringing organized participants. In the case of digital platforms the question arises who has the ultimate product responsibility. It is the person who has made the goods available, that’s why they need to have a system like continuous feedback mechanism, rating, etc to develop trust.”