eCommerce Companies in India Face New Challenges; Amazon Issues Security Warning for Honey Browser Extension; Forever21 To Enter eCommerce Market; Amazon Partners with India’s Future Retail; AIMRA Demands Price Equality from Mobile Manufacturers; Music Streaming in US Crosses 1 Trillion Streams and more.
eCommerce Companies in India Face New Challenges
Fitch Solutions, a financial risk management firm, released a statement last week outlining key concerns that are relevant to international eCommerce players in India. It said that a new eCommerce policy is in the works and is expected to take effect in March. The government has been mulling the idea of setting up a regulatory authority to resolve disputes between large online retailers and small enterprises, and it might introduce this authority in this policy.
Under the new eCommerce policy, the Government will be imposing certain strict conditions on eCommerce companies, some of which include restrictions on unfair promotional activities and misrepresenting the quality or features of their product. The eCommerce companies will have to adhere to the set conditions, which is likely to increase the pressure on their operations.
Amazon Issues Security Warning for Honey Browser Extension
Amazon has taken a hard stance against the browser extension Honey, a browser plug-in that searches for discounts while shopping online that has been compatible with Amazon since its founding in 2012, but which happens to have been acquired in November by PayPal. In the midst of the Christmas and New Year shopping season, it issued a warning notice reported by several users that “Honey tracks your private shopping behaviour, collects data like your order history and items saved, and can read or change any of your data on any website you visit”.
Honey issued a statement refuting these claims and reassuring users that while it does collect ‘limited shopping data from users, it only uses this information to enhance the service it offers and does not sell this information to any third-party entity. It is interesting to note that PayPal, which acquired Honey in its largest ever acquisition deal for USD 4 billion, and Amazon, have historically had incompatible platforms, especially since PayPal was initially a part of Amazon’s competitor eBay. Amazon even offers a competing discount plug-in.
Forever21 To Enter eCommerce Market
Embattled garment retailer Forever21 announced its eCommerce strategy for Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America last week. It had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. last year and shut down 350 stores out of its global 815 stores. Alex OK, president of Forever 21 said that with the help of strategic inputs provided by eCommerce specialist Global-e, it will focus on providing a smooth online experience and tailor itself efficiently to local market specific preferences, business goals and promotions.
Amazon Partners with India’s Future Retail
Amazon last Wednesday announced its partnership with of India’s largest retail entities, Future Retail Limited (FRL), in a bid to link online and offline channels of retail. In the increasingly competitive eCommerce market in India, this news comes amidst a spate of investments being made by Amazon in India lately. Future Retail has a significant retail store presence all over India, and the deal is geared towards an offering where consumers can buy FRL products online and pick up the products from the offline stores.
AIMRA Demands Price Equality from Mobile Manufacturers
Mobile manufacturers generally seem to offer different prices for the same device, depending on whether it is purchased from an online or an offline retailer. This continued practice has proven troublesome for offline retailers, since consumers are more likely to purchase the product from online retailers at a lower price, instead of purchasing it from offline retailers. Brick and mortar stores have therefore, been suffering losses due to this, following which, the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) stated that “retailers across the country would sell at online prices and recover the shortfall from the brands.”
In order to resolve this issue, AIMRA has now demanded that mobile manufacturers, must compulsorily maintain price parity for their products sold through online and offline sales channels. The two mobile companies, that have the largest market share in the smartphone sector in India, are Xiaomi and Samsung. After receiving the ultimatum from AIMRA, both these companies have assured the retailers that they will refrain from all kinds of exclusive online offers while launching new products. Further, Xiaomi and Samsung have internally communicated the new sales plan to their respective teams, thereby ensuring that all future product launches will happen on the same day, at the same time and at the same price across both, online and offline channels. Oppo and Vivo, are the other two mobile manufacturers to follow suit and adhere to the new guidelines.
Music Streaming in US Crosses 1 Trillion Streams
It has recently been reported that US based music streams in 2019 have crossed over 1 trillion streams. This new record breaks the previous count of 809.5 billion streams in 2018, and shows a marked increase of 25%. The artist whose songs were streamed the most, was Post Malone, followed by Drake, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, rounding off the top five on the list. “Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was the most-streamed song for audio and video on-demand streaming. He managed to rack up 963.1 million video streams and 813.6 million audio streams. He also topped song sales with 1.4 million in 2019.”
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels) and Yashita Gour (Legal Intern)
The Licensing and E-Commerce News Bulletin is brought to you jointly by the E-Commerce Law and Consulting/Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: eCommerce News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.