The Centre has taken seriously the complaints against the mega sale of e-commerce giant Flipkart. It would find out whether there was any need to regulate the new model of business, fast catching up in the country. In a record, the company did business worth `600 crore within 10 hours of the opening of the sale. However, for the customers the experience was not all that pleasant as the website was not equipped to handle 1.5 million visitors. Because of glitches some of those who ordered items at discounted prices were billed without discounts. The company has apologised for the inconvenience caused while promising better services in the future.
The “success” of the sale shows that a growing number of Indians are willing to buy products online from the comforts of their homes and offices. Small wonder that international companies like Amazon and eBay have already set up shop in India. The e-business, worth `18,000 crore, is expected to grow to `50,000 crore in two years. With the spread of broadband services and greater confidence in e-payments, more and more people find ordering items online far more convenient. What’s more, online sellers are also able to provide discounts which brick-and-mortar retailers are shy of providing. Customers find greater transparency about prices in online stores.
One complaint heard about Flipkart’s sale was that the prices were jacked up to make the discount appear more attractive. If true, it amounted to cheating. All over the world, e-business has been doing well with the traditional retailers feeling the heat. In Western nations bookshops are shutting down, as people opt to buy e-books or online. In fact, in the US, more e-books are sold than printed books. In India, online companies sell even products like washing machines and refrigerators. If the way Amazon has blacklisted some writers is anything to go by, they too can be expected to resort to monopolistic practices. Norms are, therefore, a must to govern e-business.