Monday 25 April 2016

Sellers ask: Ask Me Bazaar, why is your service below par?

What are the options for Indian sellers who want to sell on online marketplaces?
There’s eBay. It still gives maximum revenue but seller support is questionable. Hence, this first entrant is losing its charm.
Then we have homegrown etailers Flipkart and Snapdeal. But their wrong shipping charges and unfair returns policy is burning a huge hole in sellers’ pocket.
Amazon India is performing well and they have kept the service standard high. Although, according to few sellers the sales volume is less compared to other marketplaces.
Therefore, merchants had high expectations from new platforms such as Paytm and Askmebazaar. Unfortunately, sellers are not happy with Askmebazaar (AMB) too.
Let’s find out why.

Signing up process

A seller (name withheld on request) who is also part of the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) calls Askmebazaar the ‘worst marketplace ever seen’. The mobile accessories seller says,
“I used to sell on Ask Me but after too many problems, I closed my account in just 10 months.”
Here’s how it all started.
A local representative had approached the seller to sign up for Ask Me. The documents required were basic: Pan card, VAT & CST number, cancelled cheque, and address proof. There was no minimum SKU and stock requirement.
The marketplace didn’t offer assistance in clicking & uploading product images and listing products. It took approximately 45 days to complete the registration process and for the listings to go live.
“My monthly orders were 10000 when I used to sell there,” shares the seller.
However, bad service forced him to delist from the portal.

Poor seller panel & support

Indian Online Seller asked what kind of problems he faced. The seller shared that right from seller panel to support and everything in between was troubling him.
“Customer ordered 1 product but I would get multiple orders from the customer. No support from Ask Me’s employees, seller support team,” he says.
Elaborating further he adds,
“There is no system in for payment and reconciliation. They can’t do payment on time and put excess courier charges. Payments and returns are handled manually, not online. After persistently doing follow up with the entire team and top management, did they realized my problem. Many sellers were facing the same issue but no valid answer was given ever.”

Clueless support desk

An amazing list of celebrities including Kangana Ranaut, Ranbir Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar are brand ambassadors of Ask Me. But buyers don’t have many nice things to say about the shopping site. There are various social media pages dedicated to the portal with words such as ‘fraud’ and ‘fake’ sprinkled liberally.
Customers are miffed, so are merchants. The etailer’s ‘grow with us’ and ‘AskMeFin’ initiatives are aimed at empowering Indian sellers. However, looking at the quality of service, isn’t it hard to accept that the firm is serious about supporting sellers?
Take for instance Askmebazaar Seller App. Several sellers have complained about the unresponsive support team and difficulty in signing-in.
Image 1_AMB Seller Support review
Image 2_AMB Seller Support review
Vinod Dubey wrote in his app review (above image),
“I am registered seller with askme bazaar but I am unable to login. Very bad. I am a registered seller with askme but still I am unable to login.”
To this the AMB team replied,
“Currently this app is for existing sellers of Ask Me Bazaar.”
What?? Didn’t the merchant say he is a ‘registered seller’, which means an ‘existing seller’? If the support staff can’t read a three lines review properly, can we be sure they actually read sellers’ grievance mails?
Below are some more app reviews that reflect that AMB’s seller support team is too slow:
Image 3_AMB Seller Support review
Image 4_AMB Seller Support review4
Image 5_AMB Seller Support review

Can Askmebazaar afford to be indifferent?

We all are aware of the intense ecommerce battle being fought on the Indian turf. There’s Amazon, Snapdeal, and Flipkart that are already fighting fiercely. eBay is trying to make a strong comeback. Paytm is trying to sneak in. Shopclues is going strong in tier 2 & 3 cities. China’s Alibaba and Japan’s Rakuten are all geared up too!
In such an environment, AMB should have tried to make the most of this situation and win the sellers by creating a friendly platform. Merchants would have been more than happy to leave the ecommerce trinity and make the switch. But the AMB didn’t.
Here are few things they can start with:
  • Work on designing a superior seller panel
  • Automate the returns & payment process
  • Hire competent account managers and seller support team
  • Offer assistance while product uploading process
  • Get more transparent and organized
Moreover, sellers are getting strong and won’t shy away from taking the legal route if etailers continue to cheat them. A customer has already registered FIR against AMB. It can’t afford sellers doing the same against it.
Askmebazaar didn’t reply to Indian Online Seller’s email seeking comment on these issues.
We hope AMB listens carefully and realizes what a great opportunity lies ahead in front of them to poach Flipkart, Snapdeal and eBay’s sellers. Especially, when there is no dearth of orders. Askmebazaar, are you listening?

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