Many months ago, I had written a post in my Group – Beauty & Wellness Network – India, on whether e-commerce in India is regulated. My concern at that time was about counterfeit products sold online, and if there was a mechanism to monitor that. Statistics suggest that Beauty, apparel & Lifestyle products are among the fastest-growing categories in online shopping.
A few days ago, I had a meeting with a US brand for their India Market Entry, and as my consultancy involves research (both online & offline) on the brands that I consult, I did my study on the Brand before meeting them. To my surprise and the Brand’s surprise that particular Brand was being sold in India on three of the largest online platforms operating here. This Brand had not yet made an official entry through authorized channels.
This case led to many questions in my mind :
- Is the FDA aware of online products sold without registration?
- Has any action been taken to regulate ‘online business’ in terms of registration and licenses?
- What about labeling standards for online sales? Do all Beauty products have ‘Imported By………, Distributed by……….., Import Date, Expiry Date, customer care numbers’, and other details required by Legal Metrology Regulation and Weights & Measures?
- What about consumer awareness? Are the consumers aware that they have to look for such information to verify the legality of imports?
My consultancy involves sourcing the right distributors for international brands and helping them with all compliances, and hence I know for sure that importing cosmetics & fragrances requires mandatory registration, which is a challenging process given the level of compliance up to the composition details of the products, then how is it possible, that some brands that do not have an official presence in India are sold online through international e-commerce giants in India, who have a centralized buying probably outside India. Who monitors their compliance where products are concerned?
I recommend that the existing brands ensure that their authorized distributors have a commercial contract with Indian e-commerce sites to sell the products only on Indian soil and maintain proper records. This will also help to curb the gray market business to a large extent.
I also hope that the FDA will take note of the Beauty Products sold online and ensure that their registration is legal and valid when the sale is made on Indian soil and delivered in India.
I would also like to hear from my professional network in the Beauty Industry on their views about unregistered online Beauty products in India.
My company Argus CMPO not only helps you to enter the challenging Indian market but also holds your hand to build your brand here. With the giant global brands occupying a significant market share, new brands often wonder if there is space enough for them. Worry not! There is space for everybody. It’s how you create it, and I am here to help you do just that.