Petition for Choice in Ecommerce

Some manufacturers have started to restrict trade on the Internet, for example using contract terms to prevent merchants from selling their goods on Online-Marketplaces. A group of online entrepreneurs, led by Oliver Prothmann founder of chartixx, have launched Choice in Ecommerce, a petition to defend themselves against these restrictions and make sure that ecommerce remains a free and fair place for all types of businesses.

In 2012, Europe’s online revenue for goods and services was €311.6 billion and it is estimated that up to 2 million European jobs were created by ecommerce. The unilateral bans being imposed by certain manufacturers threaten all of this by cutting off sellers from their major sales channel, undermining their ability to use low cost and popular online platforms to serve customers in a competitive market. Consumers are being deprived of access to the transparent prices and increased choice that they expect from ecommerce.

If online retailers can’t sell the products people want they go out of business. Even for shops that have an offline presence, these bans are blocking a major and low cost sales channel. These bans also damage innovation. Economic growth will be led by emerging technologies like mobile commerce, as more and more consumers want to shop online whenever, wherever they want. Mobile commerce revenues across Europe are expected to rise from €1.7 billion in 2011 to €19.2 billion in 2017. All this is at threat if there are not enough fast-moving agile online sellers left to come up with new ideas because manufacturers have succeeded in taking complete control of Internet sales.

Ecommerce as we know it is under threat” says Oliver Prothmann, “Manufacturers must refrain from placing across-the-board prohibitions and limitations on ecommerce. Policy-makers must deal effectively with unnecessary restrictions of ecommerce. We’ve launched a petition calling on all parties to act appropriately”.

The Petition

The petition calls for:

Manufacturers to refrain from placing across-the-board prohibitions and limitations on eCommerce. We ask that they collaborate with all stakeholders, especially sellers and marketplace providers, to use the already existing and excellent methods to present their products on the Internet in the best possible way.

National and European policy-makers and public authorities to deal effectively with unnecessary restrictions of eCommerce, such as sales bans on online marketplaces.

If you agree you can sign the petition on the Choice in Ecommerce website.

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I dont see why people will have a problem with this (and im sure they will below). I think this should be a basic right for any manufacturer.

daveslovesbay • 16th July 2013 •

I agree with Dave, the manufacturer should have the choice on what, how and who they sell their products too. There are too many restrictions on businesses being told what they can and cannot do. Most manufacturers want as many sales as possible, and the internet has opened a massive hole that has many problems within it. I'm a big believer in being a dealer with a showroom and on-line presence and selling on-line what you sell in store - the problem is that there are too many csv catalogue uploaders on the internet.

Darren • 17th July 2013 •

I also agree with Dave.

Jimbo • 17th July 2013 •

I think the truth is, market places like eBay need premium sellers, to make some bargains look like bargains. Or all you end up with is cheaper and cheaper tat.

daveslovesbay • 17th July 2013 •

you cant sell it an own it too my car is mine it does not belong to Mercedes, even though they made and sold it I can sell it thru any chanel I Iwish not an approved Mercedes venue

northumbrian • 17th July 2013 •

Yes. But if you want to represent the brand by opening a dealership Mercedes should be allowed to decide if they want to supply you or not. If they perceive (rightly or wrongly) that you a doing something the devalues the value of there brand it should be up to Mercedes if they wish to continue to supply you or not. Mercedes may also feel some commitment to their existing dealerships who they have already established a relationship with and who may have invested a lot of energy/cash in representing the brand over time.

Jimbo • 17th July 2013 •

The car is now techinically 2nd hand, and yes you can sell it in any avenue you wish and yes the car is yours, however it carries the mercedes brand. A brand you must hold some value to, because you bought it. However when the car is sold to premium customers, perhaps Mercedes would like it being sold in an evironment that offers execellent service backup and presentable sales staff that can offer good financing agreements or lease plans. Well presented show rooms with a proffesional stock display. Rather than some guy in a tracksuit in the middle of a field scratching his balls with a pregenant woman next to him with her belly hanging out, smoking and fag whilst drinking a red bull... saying yeahhh i can giff yer a monkey off ... init mate.... yer got cash.... cause i aint like deal wit em tax peoples. We caan undercot anyyy one cause we got the lowest overherds maateee. !!!! I think thats mercedes choice, and i think its right to protect main dealers for quality standards, brand repuation and 2nd hand car pricing levels.

davelovesebay • 17th July 2013 •

Whilst people wouldnt buy a used car of the decribed. Id bet my right leg theyd buy a new mercedes. 'Cause the 'trade descriptions act of 1979 states blah blah blah blah....' and its a whole 500 quid off.... ooooo amazing. People who shops at places like ebay are fundamentally tight. If Mercedes does not want an ebay Mercedes new car shop. Its there right too not have it.

davelovesbeay • 17th July 2013 •

Surely once we start talking about Motor Vehicles we have moved into a totally different area. Cars are complicated and expensive pieces of equipment and a Dealer(of New Ones) has to have access to the Manufacturers Expertise(for technical problems) and Training Facilities(for such as Mechanics and Technicians) and of course access to the Spares Parts Supply System. In addition New Cars are covered by the Warranty System and this operates in conjunction of the Dealer who sold the vehicle and the Manufacturer who made it. So Mercedes or indeed any other Car Manufacturer will be very picky about who it allows to sell its New Vehicles. But once a car has been sold and has a owners name in its log book it totally changes. Mercedes has no control over who or what is going to sell its Secondhand Cars. This is hardly the same as a Toy Manufacturer or indeed just about any other manufacturer in any other sector of industry.

Chris T • 17th July 2013 •

I am glad my suppliers block sales on Amazon as it means I can sell the goods cheaper on my website (we had to price match before which meant with the fees we had to charge a higher price), this benefits the customer in the end. It also means my website comes up higher in the search engines without Amazon taking the monopoly or customers searching there first.

Sam • 17th July 2013 •

I hope it also means your left with a bit more margin, which makes it easier for you to offer a bit more customer service in terms of exchanges etc. Saving 15-12% approx is a big deal !

davelovesebay • 17th July 2013 •

Exactly, much less problems as customers always assumed they were buying from Amazon directly which lead to confusion. Our website sales are now booming as we can now concentrate on that more and our prices are better than they have ever been for customers and our profit has increased.

Sam • 17th July 2013 •

Problem with ebay is their marketing is focused only on ebay. So customers think, ooo it came fast BECAUSE OF EBAY. I got a good deal because of ebay. I got a refund because of ebay. Tell their friends. We got it from ebay. No one says i got it from seller xxx on ebay. Their marketing has been completely self righteous and self focused. Giving nothing on the companies that sell on the platform and are the actual ones with customer contact. The proof is in the pudding. I mean, how many 'how do i pay mails' do sellers get and similar emails that should be dealt with by ebay themselves. Not sellers. Thats surely one of the reasons why we pay to be on the platform isnt it ? All ebay does as a plaform is lower profits and in turn service and quality of the product sold. im sorry.

davelovesebay • 17th July 2013 •

of course its the right of anyone selling goods to choose to whom they sell though once sold they should not have their cake and eat it manipulating the market to price fix

northumbrian • 17th July 2013 •

'manipulating the market to price fix' HA HA HA HA very funny. Why do you think margins for retailers are basically non existent on new items like say an xbox or ipad and only one basic distributor exists for these products. The deal done behind closed doors. If you believe prices are not already manipulated then i want some of what your smoking, because i want to goto that happy place where everything is daisys and pretty flowers....

davelovesebay • 17th July 2013 •

you make our point for us,of course prices are fixed and manipulated that's the very argument and why we object to extended after sale conditions and contracts

northumbrian • 17th July 2013 •

The guy is crazy, obviously been dropping prices and undercutting and damaging some brand. Is he just feeling sorry for himself with his wordpress blog?. It is about Manufacturers having control over where their products are sold. Selecting the best sellers and protecting their brand. They decide who they sell too have MRP and give an RRP. simple..You cant petition it? maybe start a petition so manufacturers just give everything away. idiot.

Manc-hester • 17th July 2013 •

ONLY - i dont want cheaper goods. I want quality value items. Which is not the majority of goods on ebay. But a minority. Because im not so short sighted as most ebay fans. If some one whole sales something for 3.00 and the retails is 3.25 and theres a price war to 3.05. How is that good. In turn buyers go back to the manufacturer and ask for lower prices which in turn lowers quality. Who wins. No one but the short sighted and ignorant.

davelovesebay • 17th July 2013 •

This is exactly why some goods maybe wholesale for 370 and retail at 399.99 with a price war to 385. Have your price war, but it makes not difference to the manufacturer, they make their margin and plenty of people want it. Besides they are the driver for sales not the retailer. Are you seriously saying we will one day live in world where the price from manufacturers falls and rises dramatically to create some kind of special 'anyone can sell it' ebay orgasm or online selling. Please oh please pass me that stuff your smoking...

davelovesbay • 17th July 2013 •

the only thing we seem to be inhaling are fumes off the bullshit

northumbrian • 17th July 2013 •

Someone sell this guy a 100 new boxed samsung 50 inchs for 25 quid in the 'free market'. Hes a real liberator of the people and the market. Maybe we can have products like on some kind of trading excahnge platform like oil or gas, i see thats working out real great. The amount i pay for these commodious on the free market. Seem to be getting better and better all the time.

davelovesbay • 17th July 2013 •

Put your handbags away boys. I don't necessarily believe the petition is correct. But what I do believe is that Manufacturers/Distributors need to stop thinking the sun shines out of Bricks and Mortar's backside. I want to know why the high street believe they are owed something, why are they more worthy than online. Haven't they just had decades of easy business? Whilst there are certain outlets who do devalue brands - they are given the chance so this is fault of the distributor. People need to realise that times change and ecommerce is here to stay. Stop crying about it and mind your own business.

James • 18th July 2013 •

Ebay shares got whacked today, down 6.5 per cent. Not enough profit or growth. Guess we need more super dry ripped and badly made rejects daily deals and argos seconds promotions to really get back on track.

davelovesebay • 18th July 2013 •

Incidently super dry would make a good case study to how eBay affects brand. I believe they are a mid to higher positioned brand or that's their aim. Yet they sell loads on eBay. Are they still a higher end clothes brand? I don't know. Hence would love a case study on the issue.

davelovesebay • 18th July 2013 •

This morning, eBay UK seems to be 'spamming' sellers email inboxes with an urge to sign the petition. But the same message is not being sent to eBay my messages. Has eBay gone off on one?

JD • 23rd July 2013 •

SuperDry is positioned as high-end. What I can confirm is their customer support is appalling. This is where the debate starts for me. If they can't afford to pay enough employees to offer exceptional support and make the numbers stack up - is this a business? - value for value and all that. That's off topic though. Apologies.

Jason Cooke • 23rd July 2013 •

I can see both sides of this. For the manufacturers, it's about avoiding the price-cutting that can damage their brand. For the retailers, it's about getting goods their customers want to buy, hopefully at a sensible margin. The principle I work on is simple. There are millions of products out there, just in the niche market I'm in. I could never raise the capital to stock all of them, so I'll buy from the manufacturers who give me the most flexibility. If a manufacturer says "you can sell in your shop, but not on your website/ebay/Amazon/whatever-online" then I'll walk away and source an alternative range. Their loss, not mine. As an off-topic aside, I think a greater problem is manufacturers and wholesalers setting up retail operations (often under another name) in direct competition to the retail businesses they supply.

Sean BP • 23rd July 2013 •