E-comm sellers seek porting of their ratings

Sellers said the option to port seller reviews and ratings across online marketplaces will give them a level playing field. Some even complained about false user ratings on e-commerce platforms that are often used to mislead customers.

Sellers on online retail platforms are pushing for interoperability of their reviews and ratings, following the recently-unveiled draft e-commerce policy.

It will help small sellers escape discrimination by major e-commerce companies, they said, since positive reviews and ratings on online platforms help a seller attract more customers and notch up better sales. Several seller groups across the country have alleged e-commerce giants favour a few large sellers on their platforms due to which smaller ones are often sidelined.

“We spend a lot of money on promotions across platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, to improve our ratings,” said an Ahmedabad-based seller. “Sometimes, we also spend for better placements on e-commerce sites through sponsored ads. But if for any reason, we stop doing business on that platform and shift to another, we lose those ratings and have to start from scratch to work our way to the top of search listings. This stops many of us from switching to other e-commerce sites.”

Sellers said the option to port seller reviews and ratings across online marketplaces will give them a level playing field. Some even complained about false user ratings on e-commerce platforms that are often used to mislead customers.

While data portability of users has been dealt with in the Personal Data Protection Bill released by the justice Srikrishna Committee last month from which the draft e-commerce policy has borrowed heavily, sellers said they still do not own their reviews and ratings on the sites of large e-tailers.

A spokesperson for All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) said, “This industry works on trust. Many a times, honest sellers face backlash due to fraud by new entrants or malafide sellers.” AIOVA comprises around 3,500 sellers that conduct business on online marketplaces.

As a result, seller groups are pushing for a neutral rating and reviews platform on the lines of India’s credit information agency Cibil that can be shared across e-commerce sites. “A cross platform for merchant accreditation will be a welcome move for consumers and even small marketplaces that can leverage their low-set up cost in offering lower cost of sales to sellers,” said the AIOVA spokesperson.

 

 

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