In an attempt to have the entire town blacklisted, traders from Ulhasnagar in India intend to “bombard” Amazon, and other online retailers like it, with a barrage of fake orders.
As reported by The Times of India, the plan was decided upon during a meeting of the local traders’ association on Monday this week. Diwali is just around the corner, and thus the Indian festival season is in full swing; the traders say they have been incurring losses due to the online competition undercutting their prices.
"The way online sales is growing is not only causing loss to crores [millions] of brick and mortar stores, but posing a threat to the jobs of their staff,” Sujeetsingh Valecha, a local trader, said. “The online companies, by giving discounts to customers, are also creating loss of revenue for government as they pay less taxes."
It’s important to note that most shoppers in the country still prefer to pay with cash on delivery, and so the online retailers are essentially putting their trust in the customer to pay when the time is due. Amazon, Flipkart, and other online retailers like them, have been known to blacklist customers – or even entire localities – if a large number of orders are cancelled or rejected on delivery, and that’s the strategy being employed by these traders:
"If there are a huge number of rejections from a particular area, then online stores will automatically block the area code for sale."
Ulhasnagar’s proximity to the Indian city of Mumbai is also worth noting. As one trader puts it, traders from the Kalyan, Dombivli, Thane, and Mumbai areas could also employ the same strategy in the future, if it turns out to be successful.
It will be interesting to see where this plan goes; when asked about the legalities, a trader noted that they will likely not face any consequences due to it falling under a grey area. Still, Ulhasnagar has a population of over half a million, so blacklisting the entire town would likely not make sense for any retailer.