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Traders Body Wants Government to Seek a Ban on Amazon, Flipkart’s Festival Sales

“There will also be 10 per cent instant discount for Axis Bank debit and credit card holders and ICICI Bank credit card users,” it added

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A delivery person pushes a cart full of Amazon boxes in New York City, U.S., Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Just a couple of days after Flipkart announced the dates of its “The Big Billion Days” sale, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to the government seeking a “blanket ban” on festive season sales conducted by the e-commerce giant as well as its rival Amazon and other such platforms.

While Flipkart announced that its annual six-day sale ahead of Diwali and Dussehra would take place starting September 29, Amazon is yet to announce the dates for its annual bumper sale.

During these periods, the e-commerce platforms offer heavy discounts to lure customers as Indians tend to make major purchases during the festive season.

“By offering deep discounts ranging from 10 per cent to 80 per cent on their e-commerce portals, these companies are clearly influencing the prices and create an uneven level playing field which is in direct contravention of the policy,” the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a letter to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

CAIT said that the practice of deep discounts offered by various e-commerce platforms during the festive season goes against the foreign direct investment rules.

The traders body argued that that as these e-commerce platforms are “openly flouting FDI norms, a blanket ban on such festival sales should be ordered and an investigation should be conducted as to how these companies are flouting FDI norms and accordingly action should be taken against them.”

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FILE – A worker removes an advertisement billboard of Indian online marketplace Flipkart, installed along the roadside in Mumbai, India, Oct. 16, 2015. Amazon.com Inc. is concentrating on India and its competition, Flipkart. VOA

“…much contrary to the FDI policy, the e-commerce portals are deeply engaged in B2C business and the quantum of B2B business is almost negligible,” CAIT, which represents 500,000 merchants and traders in India, said in its letter on Friday.

“As per FDI policy, e-commerce entities providing marketplace will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods and services and shall maintain level playing field.”

Flipkart, in its announcement of annual sales dates said that “affordability is one of the key pillars for the Big Billion Days, with a focus on empowering consumers to fulfil all their shopping aspirations without compromising on their budgets.”

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“This year, over 50 million Indians will have access to some form of credit, through Flipkart’s various loan options, including Cardless Credit, Flipkart PayLater and No-Cost EMIs on leading bank debit and credit cards,” Flipkart said.

“There will also be 10 per cent instant discount for Axis Bank debit and credit card holders and ICICI Bank credit card users,” it added. (IANS)

Next Story

Walmart, Flipkart Jointly Invest in Ninjacart Startup: Report

Based in Bengaluru, Ninjacart was founded in 2015 by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran K. K., Ashutosh Vikram, Sharath Loganathan and Vasudevan Chinnathambi

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Walmart in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Wikimedia Commons

Walmart and its Indian arm Flipkart on Wednesday jointly invested in fresh produce supply chain startup Ninjacart, to modernise fresh produce market to benefit consumers, retailers and farmers.

“As a homegrown e-commerce company, it is in our DNA to drive change and solve complex local problems in-house through technology. In Ninjacart, we see a company that shares our values, our pioneering mindset and our commitment to tech-driven innovation that improves life in India,” said Flipkart Group chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy in a statement.

With the new agreement, Walmart, Flipkart and Ninjacart aim to offer better access of high quality fresh produce to more retailers and consumers in the country even as they economically empower farmers.

Ninjacart offers business to business (B2B) supply chain infrastructure and technology solutions with traceability feature.

The startup deploys sophisticated supply chain algorithms, harvesting big data, predictive analytics, mobile applications and internet of things (IoT) to propel a just in time supply chain, connecting farmers, retailers, 200 collection centres and 1,200 warehouses throughout India.

Operating paperless, Ninjacart transports up to 1,400 tonnes of fresh produce in a day, forming a link between 44,000 farmer suppliers, 60,000 kirana stores and restaurants.

Ninjacart helps reduce the transit time of produce from farms to store at ambient temperature, slashing cost and lessening food waste in India which lacks cold chain infrastructure.

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Shoppers walk in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). VOA

With the freshly infused funds, Ninjacart will expand its customer base, geographical reach and learn global best practices to better local fresh produce ecosystem.

Additionally, partnering with Ninjacart will bolster sourcing for Walmart’s Best Price B2B cash and carry stores and Flipkart’s direct online grocery business Supermart.

Krish Iyer, president and chief executive of Walmart India said, “Ninjacart’s focus on direct-from-farm sourcing resonates well with Walmart’s commitment to supporting farmers in India.”

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Iyer said Walmart’s Best Price has set a target to source 25 per cent produce directly from farmers by 2023.

“Ninjacart wants to make food safer and more accessible, while ensuring a fair price for everyone involved. We are excited that Flipkart and Walmart are joining us to make this vision a reality,” said Ninjacart chief executive and co-founder Thirukumaran Nagarajan.

However, no financial details of the investment were disclosed by the retail giants.

Based in Bengaluru, Ninjacart was founded in 2015 by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran K. K., Ashutosh Vikram, Sharath Loganathan and Vasudevan Chinnathambi. (IANS)