There is an idiom in Sanskrit, “अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत्” which means “Excess of Anything is Bad.” It is valid everywhere. The same goes for customer and channel partner engagement in the retail industry.

If you own a retail brand, then having loyal channel partners and customers is a necessity. But for that, you shouldn’t reach out forcefully and annoy them to increase engagement. However, right now, that has become a very common practice.

Even though there are strict laws against it only a few consumers know about them, and brands take advantage of this to increase their reach. Generally, these kinds of activities make consumers annoyed and shift toward competitors’ brands

So, let’s find out some of the rules that brands should know and then dive into some unethical practices that brands do; then, we will discuss how brands can get better results without adopting these unethical practices.

Laws for Consumer Protection in India

“Consumer Protection Act 2019” is a landmark legislation to protect consumers in India. It offers them rights like the Right to Safety, Right to Choose, Right to Information, and Right to Seek Redressal under section 2.

To ensure easy and accessible dispute redressal, GOI has established a three-tiered consumer dispute redressal system. It consists of district, state, and national levels. Due to these tiers, consumers can have problem resolution quickly and easily

GOI has “National Consumer Helpline (NCH) so consumers can file complaints and grievances easily. Currently, NCH is receiving many complaints against retailers as they are forcing consumers to provide mobile numbers and other personal information just for basic services like exchange, delivery, and even sales. Against that, the Department of Consumers Affairs has issued an advisory and mentioned the type of complaint it gets. 

Unethical Practices Brands are Engaged With 

  • Taking Advantages of Lack of Information
    Everyone is busy with their work and personal life. So, they do not have much time to find out every law passed that empowers them. Here, many brands take advantage and try to force-feed the excessive laws of their own to get some extra sales.
    Such as, consumers have to provide personal information which doesn’t have any importance to the business transaction. These kinds of information can include mobile numbers, age, and sex. As per law, consumers should have the option of opt-out or skip, but brands make it a compulsory action for the services
  • Privacy Violation
    Once brands get the information, they start to force-feed the information about them through emails, WhatsApp messages, SMSs, and social media. Here, if someone tries to unsubscribe from emails, he/she has to go through a long survey, which makes consumers give up on the process. On the other hand, other platforms don’t have options to unsubscribe. 
    The second and much bigger issue is the “sharing of personal data” with other organizations. This way, consumers don’t have any clue or power to control their information. These kinds of practices are often mentioned in terms of conditions, but it is stuffed with so much lengthy and unimportant information that 99% of people don’t read before agreeing to it. 
  • Excess of Brands but Same Practices
    Now, there are a lot of companies that want to get the attention of channel partners and consumers. Even though everyone is trying to be different, they end up following each other with the same tactics and data. Ultimately customers are served the same information and practices, which makes them more unengaged.

What Brands Should be Doing

The mobile number and email address are the basic information to personalize the engagement process. And every brand wants to provide a personalized experience. For that, brands should use ethical ways to obtain it and ensure it is used carefully. When it comes to accumulating information, brands can take the following practices:  

  • Clear Terms and Conditions
    Brands should convey the rules and regulations to their retailers. Under that, they should ensure they are not violating any regulations and must insist channel partners not engage in unethical practices
  • Training Sessions
    Brands should constantly provide various training sessions for their channel partners. They can provide the latest product information, rules, and sales practices here. These sessions can be the place to collect grievances from channel partners too.
    Almonds is a leading AI driven loyalty program management platform which offers training sessions for channel partners. It provides bite sized training videos with various gamification activities to engage channel partners.
  • The Helpline for Consumers
    Brands should provide consumers with a helpline number to reach out to brands before they go to government bodies. It will convey a positive image in the market which will increase consumers’ trust in brands.
  • Loyalty Rewards Program
    Brands can provide rewards in exchange for information. These rewards can be in the form of easily redeemable points, exclusive offers, or cash back. The easiest way to do that is through loyalty rewards management platform.

End of the Day 

Every brand wants to increase engagement and, ultimately, sales. For that, everyone has a choice between ethical and unethical ways, and as always, one is slow, and the other is quick. Here we suggest brands choose the ethical way as it follows all the laws and offers clear information to their customers 

Because there is another saying in Sanskrit “सर्व भवतः समीपं समये आगमिष्यति, धैर्यं धारयतु” which means everything will come at its time, so have patience.  

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