To buy online or not to?

I did my first only purchase in around 2006, when NDTV had a section selling books online. Then in 2008, I ordered a kitchen item first time from futurebazaar.com (now doesn't exist). But the real pace started only after Flipkart and Amazon came into picture.

Likewise, many others started buying online much to the credit of these the market-places. Now the question is, has online become credible enough that we can buy anything from any category through these market-places? Well, while the market-places are doing all the best work and giving every brand - big or small a platform where they can simply sell and forget all other hassles in the background ranging from packaging, logistics to other support. However, brands are yet to take online seriously. Many of them are yet to own it!

Here is a classic example where a reputed brand in cosmetics - Colorbar simply brings a disrepute to Amazon, pioneers of online selling. As a customer, I flagged off a concern about a product and asked the brand on their Twitter. To my surprise their response was very casual and putting the onus on the market-place, in this case Amazon.

Why can't brands be honest and own the space? If they are selling on these marketplaces, let them openly accept it and give more confidence to the users who will then not engage for such products. Its a divergent approach of such brands. They go all aloud when they start selling on reputed market-places like Amazon and Flipkart; do all the social and digital amplification telling customers that they can buy their products from such credible online channels. But, when it comes to highlighting of any such issue, they will find an escape route in 'third-party' argument. Well the consumer protection act doesn't differentiate between second or third party and for consumer's interest looks all of the parties involved through same prism. But, few brands are simply bringing a bad reputation to the market-places who have invested a lot of time, money and resources in developing technology, changing consumer behaviour and giving that confidence to consumers to 'click a buy' on their screen.

The brands have to become more responsible when it comes to digital. I have seen many of the brands issuing media releases when they 'crackdown' along with relevant authorities in the offline space on those selling counterfeit products. So why can't brands show the same proactiveness here and simply shoulder this on to a market-place which does all the good for them, enable them to sell online and go digital opening up immense sales opportunity for them.