“Last month we saw a lot of action in the India e-tailer space. Almost all the big players were accused of crashing websites, unfulfilled promises, trumped up prices, late deliveries, selling merchandise at lower than cost prices and even murder and manslaughter. Well, I’m kidding about the murder and manslaughter bit, but the way in which accusations were running thick on all types of media even that would have sounded like fair game.

What is the reason for such widespread accusations when it appears as if the largest number of people benefitted by buying stuff at huge discounts? Let’s start with the crashing websites……just as one clicked the button to buy and expensive TV set at 80% discount, the website crashes and when it gets back on the discount has been reduced to 60%. Definitely cause for complain. Some others were not able to lay their hands on the limited offers, well because they were limited offers and got over before they logged in! Late deliveries because of the massive quantum of orders – I really cannot imagine that the e-tailers did not expect that. Some large fashion brands and electronic giants crying foul because their ‘brands’ were devalued because of excessive discounting. Well, well, well…except for the crashing website and unclear delivery communication, the rest seem to be angst against market disruption. And that is exactly what the e-tailers have managed to do. One can only expect the brick and mortar retailers to come up with innovative solutions to attract the consumers back to them. This is going to be a really interesting battle which I will be monitoring very closely. As the old saying goes…’Money can’t last forever’.”

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