As the Amazons of China try to elbow each other out of the way, a couple of retailers are coming forward to reveal some of the lengths that China’s ecommerce players will go to, to get you to add items to your cart.
Liebo, a mid-sized women’s apparel brand, accused the country’s second-largest online retailer, JD.com, of forcibly slashing Liebo’s product prices, reported Sixth Tone.
The seller said it occurred on the eve of 618, a big discount festival that JD.com was holding, similar to Black Friday in the U.S. Liebo found it was locked out of editing its own prices on the platform, and was obligated to sell at the rates listed.
It eventually could not address the glut of orders received, and had to shut down its JD.com store front, Liebo founder, Tang Dafeng, wrote on a statement on Weibo.
“If I don’t have the right to price my products online, if I am forced to lower prices below cost price, and if I can’t decide whether my brand joins a retail event, do I still own Liebo?” Tang wrote, adding that Liebo’s lawyers have sent a letter on behalf for her company to JD.com.
But JD.com denies that.
In a follow-up statement posted on WeChat, the company said many retailers which had signed up for the shopping festival, ended up pulling out at the last minute.
“Under pressure from an outside party, Liebo…reneged on commitments it had voluntarily made to our customers,” a company representative told Mashable. “Based on this violation of our policy, we have closed their store.”
Liebo also runs stores on other ecommerce platforms.
Even big players like LeTV are pressed down
Far bigger retailers couldn’t escape pressure from online store operators for the big 618 shopping holiday.
LeTV, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate LeEco, also put out a statement saying that two unnamed ecommerce platforms forced it to offer voucher and cashback discounts.
“Two major e-commerce platforms still forced us to conduct voucher and cashback deals on top of the discounts we already placed on our products,” LeTV said. “They’ve also forced us to pay for the voucher and cashback deals this is way beyond what we can pay for.”
Black Friday multiple times a year
The “618” June 18 shopping festival, originally started by JD.com, has seen rival, Alibaba, putting out dramatic discounts to compete.
The sheer volume of sales for June 18 have made the mid-year sales period the second-biggest e-commerce event, after Singles Day, which occurs on Nov. 11.
JD said that 618 saw more than 700 million items sold, adding that its first hour of sales June 18 more than doubled over the same period last year, according to China Daily.
JD.com’s total sales nearly matched Alibaba’s sale records on last year’s Singles’ Day, where the ecommerce company moved over $17.8 billion in sales.
Ecommerce giants have been accused of under-handed tactics in the lead-up to big online shopping events, such as false advertising and forcing retailers to choose one platform over the other, reported Reuters.
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