Big vs small: why Wildberries company is leaving its suppliers without money

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Big vs small: why Wildberries company is leaving its suppliers without money
Big vs small: why Wildberries company is leaving its suppliers without money
26 July, 23:33BusinessPhoto: kommersant.ru
Not all small business troubles are related to the pandemic and QR=codes canceled last week. The editors of Novye Izvestia received dozens of requests from suppliers selling their products on the Wildberries marketplace.

Tatiana Bakalchuk's company does not transfer money to them for the goods sold, and support service cannot help in any way.

Victoria Pavlova

Before contacting the editorial office of Novye Izvestia, Wildberries' suppliers, who did not receive their money, tried to independently resolve the issue and communicate with the marketplace, but the attempts were in vain and the payments were not achieved. We surveyed sellers who are in one of the chat rooms, which contains about 450 entrepreneurs. Everyone has one problem: Wildberries does not pay, and calls to the technical support of the marketplace do not lead to anything. In some cases, the debt lasts more than six months.

Practice shows that writing in support is a waste of time. Only standard automatic unsubscriptions come from Wildberries.

Wildberries respond to the request of Novye Izvestia in about the same way as to partners - they talk about checking the details, and promise to figure it out:

"The fact is that we have 230 thousand sellers on the platform. It is possible that someone simply has incorrect details, and the payment is returned - this is the most common story. Can you send me the details - we will definitely figure it out and give an answer?", - explained in the press service of Wildberries.

Thus, entrepreneurs become hostages of a retailer, whose services are also not easy to refuse. Online trading over the past years has already shown rapid growth, and the last pandemic year completely turned everything upside down: online shopping has become not just a trend, but the main driving force of small and medium-sized businesses. If you want to sell, go to the Internet.

Against this background, Russian marketplaces showed a 1.5-fold increase in revenue - up to 2.7 trillion rubles . It’s logical: earlier Ozon specialized in books, AliExpress products were available from China, and Wildberries were engaged in clothing and goods for children. Now you can buy everything there at once, including food. And the growth trend continues: in the first quarter of 2021, the e-commerce market in Russia grew by 44% compared to the same period last year, and by 2024, the total revenue from online sales, according to Data Insight forecast, will reach 4.4 trillion rubles. and will take 20% of all retail in the country.

It is desirable for suppliers, especially small ones, to be located in large marketplaces. Yandex.Market's revenue in 2020 amounted to 28.8 billion rubles, Lamoda raised 37.7 billion rubles, Ozon - 197 billion rubles, AliExpress - 229.3 billion rubles (local business turnover - 54.9 billion rubles), Wildberries - 437 , 2 billion rubles. That is, 5 companies account for 34% of all online trade in the country. At the same time, Wildberries is the largest marketplace. In the field of clothing and footwear, it already occupied 36% of the e-commerce market in 2019, although there are more than 4,000 online clothing and footwear stores in the country.

The situation is stalemate: for the sake of good sales, placement in marketplaces cannot be avoided, which means that you have to pay a commission and share your profit. But this is not so bad. It is much worse if, as in the case of Wildberries, the marketplace simply does not pay the seller his money. As the ombudsman for small and medium-sized businesses Anastasia Tatulova explains, large retail is increasingly dismissive of small businesses.

"Very often, manufacturers, suppliers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, unfortunately, are held hostage by retailers. What's online, what's offline. Because there are long delays, there are non-payments, and companies can often simply even stop their activities due to the fact that a large platform does not pay them".

The mechanism of relationship with the supplier is as follows. When someone makes a purchase and enters their card details, the money goes to the marketplace account. As one of the sellers who contacted the editorial office of "NI" explained, the marketplace provides a sales report once a week and then within 14 calendar days must transfer money to the seller - everything is fixed in the offer agreement. But to promise is not to marry. People who have their own small business in the format of a self-employed or individual entrepreneur often find themselves in an extremely difficult situation. For them, proceeds from sales are a means of subsistence.

There are a lot of similar stories, when people lose the opportunity to support their families due to the carelessness of Wildberries (and maybe politicians - for the marketplace, this is free capital on which to earn) - a lot. And they are confirmed not only by the words of the suppliers themselves, but also by court proceedings. According to the VLSI system, the number of claims against the marketplace is steadily growing. If in 2017 the company was sued 27 times, then in 2021 Wildberry LLC managed to become a defendant in 120 cases for 300 million rubles. Such an increase in the number of claims is no longer an accident and not a mistake of suppliers - Wildberries wins only 5% of cases in court. In total, the amount of claims against the marketplace exceeded 1 billion rubles.

Why, then, have not all suppliers solved their problems through the courts? Only because in a small business there is often no opportunity to be distracted from the production process and spend time and money on litigation with lawyers. An impermissible luxury. So Anastasia Tatulova recommends first trying to solve the problem peacefully.

- You can, of course, solve the problem through the court, but the court is long and expensive. And, of course, if this is a mass story, then it is better to organize a meeting first in order to understand what the problem is, whether it can be solved and how people can calmly get out of this crisis.

Small businesses have already organized online meetings, but the marketplace remains deaf to their problems. Even writing an official pre-trial claim only leads to fruitless promises of support specialists to return the money. And that's all. In such a situation, a different legislative way of solving the problem in a pre-trial procedure clearly suggests itself. According to Anastasia Tatulova, large retailers should have an incentive not to take the situation to the extreme:

- Such situations need to be regulated by law so that manufacturers can return money through penalties in some simplified manner.

In this case, both the supplier and the marketplace will be on equal terms. Now the supplier runs the risk of running into a fine for any oversight, and only 5 days are given to pay the fine. And the marketplace does not risk anything. He has a minimum of duties and responsibilities. It turns out a game with only one goal on the right of the strong - as in the Middle Ages. The consumer suffers, as always. Small sellers are forced to leave the market, and their place is taken by large ones who do not hesitate to break prices for goods of any quality - there is no choice.

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