‘India should have common norms for online, offline retail business’

It will safeguard critical customer factors such as choice, convenience, price and quality

August 26, 2022 09:38 pm | Updated 10:49 pm IST - Bengaluru

India should have common standards for offline and online retail business to safeguard critical customer factors such as choice, convenience, price and quality, according to a study conducted by the Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP), Indian School of Business (ISB) in partnership with Empower India.

The report, titled ‘Customer Centric E-commerce in India,’ was structured around four broad topics in e-commerce viz. foreign direct investment, business models, data and search, and taxation, to assess the current e-commerce policies and make policy recommendations for improvement, according to a joint statement.

Some key recommendations of the report were policies on foreign investments in India need to be simplified to avoid misinterpretation by parties and have a common business standard, regardless of the mode of transaction, i.e., online or offline.

Alternate platforms complementing the existing ones such as the Open Network Digital Commerce (ONDC) and Government e-Marketplace (GeM), must be encouraged to benefit both small sellers and end customers.

Rural e-commerce should be expanded through collaboration with post offices, Common Service Centres (CSCs) and Indian Railways for assistance with logistics and warehouse, hence generating employment.

E-commerce platforms must further increase transparency and collaborate with the government to run customer awareness drives around various products listed on the e-commerce platforms within the remit of FDI laws.

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