[YS Exclusive] Quality on mind, Flipkart squads will visit sellers’ warehouses for surprise checks


Amid media reports that the government is mulling a mechanism to compensate consumers who receive counterfeit products from online platforms, Flipkart introduces a new audit programme to inspect quality and compliances. 

The trailer of an upcoming Bollywood film, Raid, starring Ajay Devgn, states: “Heroes don’t always come in uniform.” Seems like Flipkart, Indian ecommerce's poster boy, believes this statement. The ecommerce company has introduced a new audit programme this month, which includes surprise visits by Flipkart officials (the men in mufti) to sellers’ warehouses and locations to inspect quality and compliances at the sellers’ end.

The development comes at a time when there are media reports of the government considering a mechanism to compensate consumers who receive counterfeit products from online platforms.

The Flipkart team will surprise sellers by visiting their warehouses for checks.

A monthly newsletter from Flipkart to its third-party sellers said from this month the Flipkart team will visit sellers’ location to audit their merchandise and warehouses. The newsletter reads, “These are mandatory audits that will help you maintain quality standards and reduce your returns percentage. This will also enable you to increase positive customer ratings for all your products.”

Questions mailed to Flipkart were not answered till the time of publishing this news. The story will be updated as soon as YS gets inputs from the company.

The newsletter added, “We may even surprise you by visiting your warehouse and hope to see that you are always maintaining high standards in your warehouse management and product quality.”

Reducing returns

It also has an advisory for third-party sellers on how to prepare for the audit. It has asked sellers to ensure that pricing and product attributes must match details mentioned in their listings on the products page. It has also suggested sellers use Flipkart-branded packaging only to fulfil their orders.

“Primary and secondary packaging material should be of good quality to avoid damage during shipment of your products,” goes the instruction.

Apparently, Flipkart's focus is to reduce the returns percentage. It is encouraging sellers to welcome these audits by saying, “Get inspired to reduce returns due to quality issues!”

The company also spoke about unsellable inventory incurring long-term storage fees (LTSF). It announced a new capability - Automated Recall - where sellers can avoid LTSF for their inventory that has been unsold for more than 90 days. Such unsellable inventory will automatically be sent to the default return address that the sellers would have provided on the Seller Portal, the communication from Flipkart said.

While it suggested sellers enable the Automated Recall feature and get recalls for their aging products once every month, it also asked sellers to make sure that their listings were compliant with the new amendment on Legal Metrology Act, 2017, which makes it mandatory for sellers to display details like manufacturer’s name and address, importer’s name and address, packer’s name and address, country of origin, manufacturing date, and sell-by date.