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The Financial Express

OPINION

Enough damage done to online business!


Enough damage done to online business!

What would happen to e-commerce platform Evaly is largely immaterial, maybe inconsequential for online businesses and customers alike in the near future. No new problems shall be required to disturb the journey of thousands of new entrepreneurs willing to venture into this virtual business world. Evaly alone is not accused of breaching trust of consumers, which is resonating on social media.

At least some of the consumers have joined the spree of making 'windfall profit' in purchasing goods offered at unbelievable or cleverly crafted concessional rates. Millions of small savers were tempted to earn quick money, once from multi-level marketing (MLM) companies and from the share market as well.

Giving order online these days, a section also tends to lodge complaints - sometimes genuine and sometimes half-hearted - about quality of foods, clothes, ornaments, show pieces or a gift item. Some of the home-based or social media-based emerging businesspersons informally complain that they felt harassed when a section of customers declined to receive goods or abstained from the scene during the delivery stage, depriving sellers of payment.

No, all customers can't be blamed, nor are all online sellers free from maintaining crooked policy. A common allegation is that the items of the same specifications are not often delivered.

The result of the ill activities by whatever side, even if and when a few are involved in, is the same: The growth in online business in the country in recent times is being thwarted quietly.

The reason for possible stagnation or decline is also the same. Profit mongers assume they can get away with malpractice if they can fool people consistently. The consumers, too, know they can't find remedy from being cheated, so some may think they must bring forward certain allegation to enhance their bargaining, no matter if it's not fully valid.

The share market scam of the past decade is a major culprit that has made up the mind of innumerable people in taking economic decisions. MLM company Destiny not only shattered the confidence of its 'family tree' members but also damaged courage of many to take an initiative, be it as entrepreneur or as small saver.

Online businesses managed to keep working alternative marketing chains, braving pandemic risks. It was flourishing fast with fresh momentum in spite of the financial challenges commoners are facing. Now the failure to deliver the promised goods up to the satisfaction of customers is creating a new crisis.

Certainly, inefficiency, lack of experience and unhealthy competition may be assigned as reasons for erosion in customers' confidence. It can't also be denied that there is deficiency in regulation.

We don't usually want to say publicly that socio-cultural orientation of entrepreneurs matters in their business dealing, especially customer handling. One can't simply act as a gentleman unless one is really so. Good education is emphasised mostly for creating skilled workers and technocracts but not for aspiring entrepreneurs although entrepreneurship itself is the expression of an enthusiastic mind that always loves to learn.

Despite Bangladesh's success in some challenging areas of development, we are yet to be ready to pursue great ideas and excellence and work wholeheartedly to thrive socially. Unfortunately in our case, ideas lose appeal as dictions lose meanings. It's no good sign that words such as regulation, reforms, transparency, accountability, zero tolerance, rule of law, social justice, and people's aspirations would survive only as rhetoric.

'Online business' is of course another idea which can still be saved from ruining before its potential is utilised for the welfare of all parties to it. These entrepreneurs and customers may speak up online to raise the relevant issues but their collective voice needs to be heard for taking corrective measures by those who are responsible.

 

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