Anti-Amazon retailer groups take a dig at Smbhav event, hold ‘Asmbhav’ event

As Amazon kicked off its second edition of Smbhav event on Thursday, retailer groups in India organised another event called Asmbhav, with the aim to take a dig at the tech giant’s alleged predatory policies and unfair treatment.

The event saw presence of representatives of small retailers, sellers, distributors including All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), Swadeshi Jagran Manch, All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation, All India Mobile Retailers’ Association and the Federation of All India Distributors Association (FAIDA). Together, they named themselves Indian Sellers’ Collective to counter Amazon’s Smbhav event.

Speakers at the event called for action against alleged preferential treatment by Amazon to its exclusive brands such as Cloudtail and RetailNet. Citing a Reuters report, Abir Roy, co-founder and Advocate, Sarvada Legal said, “Only 35 sellers account for 66% of the trade on Amazon. This means 0.01 per cent traders constitute 66% of the trade on Amazon. The issue is level playing field. There’s absolutely no level playing field between their preferred sellers and other sellers.”

He accused Amazon of controlling sellers’ prices calling it unfair and gave the analogy of a shopping mall where instead of the shop, the mall decides the prices of its goods.

Adding to his statement, MM Sharma from Vaish Associates, who heads the Competition Law & Policy of the firm said such abuse by dominance is common among all tech giants. He mentioned that such abuse starts with excluding the rivals on their platform, referring to the alleged preferential treatment of leading online marketplaces.

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“Not only rivals but potential rivals such as emerging startups, because they can foresee the market potential of a particular startup. So they start excluding the startups from the beginning and have exclusive arrangements with their preferred vendors,” he said.

He explained that such large marketplaces often have a lot more data from customers and the moment they become strong, they start leveraging the data to get profit from their preferred sellers.



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