In a move that will come as a punch on the face for most online ecommerce players, device manufacturers have begun sending out notices and statements informing customers that online retailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon are not their authorized product resellers.
In the beginning of February 2014, PC manufacturer Toshiba had sent out an advisory for customers stating that, many of the online ecommerce portals are not authorized resellers of their products. (Via)
The advisory also warned ecommerce websites from passing on sales promotional schemes to online customers, that are only available when these products purchased through the company’s authorized dealer network.
In a similar move, device manufacturer Lenovo has posted an advisory on its website stating that “Ecommerce websites like Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon.in are not authorized Lenovo resellers.”
The advisory also stated that customers might not be entitled for warranty on products purchased from these sources.
This move might come as a respite to a lot of offline retailers as the ecommerce companies were seen to be selling these devices at heavily discounted prices, undercutting offline retail sales.
Also the move will benefit official online stores of manufactures like Lenovo’s thedostore.com, an authorized portal in partnership with Net Distribution Services Pvt. Ltd, which will retail in over 50 premium Lenovo products, including a range of ‘Think’ brand products.
In the past even other digital device manufacturers like Nikon, have issued similar notice against ecommerce portal reselling their products.
As the sale of these devices by these online ecommerce portal are not authorized by the original manufacturer, technically, they are operating ‘grey markets.’
Online sellers have been found selling goods below the minimum selling price. While heavily funded online players can absorb losses, offline players are left with little choice but to lobby with manufacturers. Flipkart is now the largest retailer of electronic goods (even in comparison to total offline sales). What beats us, is why are manufacturers playing ball?
This is what Lenovo India’s Shailendra Katyal, Director of Consumer Business, had to say
“It has come to our notice that some of the online stores and marketplaces are selling Lenovo products at heavily discounted prices. Our observation is that these may not be Lenovo authorized resellers . Keeping our end customer’s interest in mind, we have accordingly issued an advisory on our website.”
This is what the Flipkart spokesperson had to say
We can assure our customers buying Lenovo products on Flipkart.com that they are genuine. Customers will continue to enjoy the warranty and services extended to all original Lenovo products as always.
Both the companies had no further comments on the issue.