As Flipkart faces the heat, Snapdeal now tries to lure sellers through changes in return policy


Changes to return policy seem to see no end with e-commerce players trying to maximise their profits. Riding on this wave is Snapdeal, which on Tuesday reportedly made changes to its return policy for electronic gadgets.

Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal

According to The Economic Times, it will now be difficult to return smartphones and other electronic products purchased at the e-commerce website, as customers will have to produce a document within seven days (of purchase) from the brand’s authorised service centres, declaring the defectiveness of the product.

While several sellers weren’t aware of the new return policies, the company told its sellers in an email on Monday,

"Electronic items: We require a document from the brand/OEM's service centre confirming that the delivered item was defective. We will carry out a quality check to validate the complaint before processing any request for refund/replacement. Returns/replacements will be accepted for only those items which are found to be faulty/defective.”

Although Snapdeal’s new decision might dissuade buyers from purchasing electronic items, the move has been welcomed by sellers.

Just yesterday, Snapdeal reduced its commission from its sellers, reducing its marketing fees in more than 120 sub-categories, including digital products, electronics, women’s fashion, FMCG products, sports and fitness goods, fashion jewellery, kitchen appliances, automotive accessories, etc.

According to Harminder Sahni, Founder of Wazir Advisors, Snapdeal’s new move will reduce the number of returns and exchanges while also bringing down fraudulent cases from buyers.

Further, e-commerce companies now seem to be passing on the liability to customers.

Snapdeal's current move comes at a time when its contemporary Flipkart has been facing the wrath of sellers.

Last month, media reports emerged that online sellers’ association eSellerSuraksha had taken out one million stock keeping units (SKUs) from Flipkart, owing to changes in its seller policies.

Amongst other measures, Flipkart had decided to increase the sales commissions it levies on merchants by up to five percent in some categories. The online marketplace is reported to charge sellers a shipping fee, a reverse shipping fee, and a collection fee for every product returned.

On the other hand, Snapdeal said that to share the cost of returns, it will bear the cost for reverse pickup and payment collection, while packaging and shipping will be borne by sellers. In case of replacement/exchange also, reverse pick up costs will be borne by Snapdeal.

Just last week, the company was also reported to be one of the front-runners to buy fashion seller Jabong.

Moreover, as per a study by Neilson last month, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon were named the most preferred e-commerce websites for sellers.