Ethical Issues in Retailing in India

18/07/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

Ethical issues in retailing are critical considerations that impact the relationships between businesses, consumers, and the broader society. Maintaining ethical standards is not only a legal requirement but also essential for building trust, ensuring fair practices, and sustaining a positive reputation.

Ethics in business have become an essential topic of discussion. In retailing, retailers want to earn maximum profit by providing satisfaction to their customers with ethical means. Some certain laws and regulations govern the retail sector.

Following these laws are important and beneficial for the organizations. In this article, you will learn about ethical behavior in the retail sector and its importance.

Ethics can be defined as the moral principles for the behavior of a person or an organization to conduct activities. Business ethics tell the difference between right and wrong activities. However, ethical conduct in business is not as simple as it seems. There are various complexities when It comes to ethical conduct.

Ethical order ensures a sense of order and justice in an organization. The concepts like Corporate Social Responsibility is introduced in the retailing sector. The CSR is related to the ethical expression to conduct business. Retailing is the end unit of the Supply chain.

Customers directly interact with retailers. Therefore, it is important that retailers act ethically as they impact the lives of many people. Ethical practices are not only moral responsibility of a retailer, but it has great importance for the retail business. Let us learn about them one by one.

Adopting an ethical approach in retailing is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic imperative. Ethical behavior builds trust with consumers, fosters a positive workplace culture, and contributes to the long-term sustainability and success of a retail business. By addressing these ethical issues, retailers can demonstrate a commitment to integrity, responsibility, and the well-being of both consumers and the broader community.

Fair Pricing and Transparency:

Deceptive pricing practices, hidden fees, and misleading discounts can erode consumer trust.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should ensure transparency in pricing, avoid misleading promotions, and provide clear information about product costs.

Product Quality and Safety:

Selling substandard or unsafe products can harm consumers and damage a retailer’s reputation.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers must adhere to quality standards, conduct product testing, and promptly recall defective items.

Supply Chain Ethics:

Unethical practices within the supply chain, such as exploitation of labor, child labor, or environmental violations, can tarnish a retailer’s reputation.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should implement ethical sourcing policies, ensure fair labor practices, and promote sustainable and responsible supply chain management.

Employee Treatment and Fair Labor Practices:

Unfair wages, poor working conditions, and lack of employee benefits can lead to ethical concerns.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should prioritize fair wages, provide a safe and healthy work environment, and offer employee benefits to promote overall well-being.

Customer Privacy and Data Security:

Mishandling customer data, privacy breaches, and unauthorized use of personal information can lead to ethical violations.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers must prioritize customer privacy, implement robust data security measures, and adhere to data protection laws.

Truth in Advertising:

False or misleading advertising can deceive consumers and harm a retailer’s credibility.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should ensure that advertising is truthful, accurate, and does not exaggerate product capabilities.

Inclusivity and Diversity:

Discrimination or lack of inclusivity in hiring practices or product representation can be ethically problematic.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should foster diversity and inclusion, both in their workforce and in the representation of various demographics in marketing and product offerings.

Environmental Sustainability:

Irresponsible environmental practices, such as excessive packaging or contributing to pollution, raise ethical concerns.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should adopt sustainable practices, reduce environmental impact, and promote eco-friendly products.

Social Responsibility:

Neglecting social responsibility, such as community engagement or charitable initiatives, can be viewed as ethically irresponsible.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should actively engage in socially responsible activities, supporting community initiatives and contributing to social causes.

Ethical Marketing:

Manipulative marketing tactics, such as false scarcity or exploiting emotional triggers, can be ethically questionable.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should prioritize honesty, integrity, and authenticity in marketing, avoiding manipulative practices.

Fair Competition:

Unfair business practices, such as price fixing or collusion, can harm competition and violate ethical standards.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should compete fairly, adhere to antitrust laws, and avoid engaging in anti-competitive behavior.

Product Endorsements and Reviews:

Deceptive product endorsements or fake reviews can mislead consumers.

  • Ethical Approach: Retailers should encourage genuine customer reviews, avoid deceptive endorsements, and maintain the integrity of product recommendations.

Importance of Ethics in Retail

  • Build a Positive Image in society

People who have not much knowledge about the business ethics and rules of business conduct usually prefer to associate with those organizations which have a positive image in society.

Take the example of an IT company Infosys. Infosys is known for its charitable work, good corporate governance, and social responsibility initiatives such as providing scholarship to deserving children and providing medical help to poor elderly people.

People, when learning all about this they built a positive perception about the company.

  1. Ethics helps in satisfying human needs

People, whether they are employee or customers, want to associate with an organization which works with honesty and in a fair manner.

Therefore, the following ethical practices are important if you want to retain customers as well as employees for a long period of time.

  1. Ethics plays an important role in decision making

In everyday life, retailers need to take important decisions for the well-being of the organization. If an organization believe in ethical practices, it tends to make decisions which are in favor of the organization, its employees as well as customers.

A retailer can take fierce decisions in the absence of ethical practices. For example, an organization which does not follow ethical practice can take fierce decisions to tackle competition.

  1. Bringing People together

Employees love and respect organization whose actions are influenced by ethical practices. The organization which practices ethics will never only think about its own but also think about its employees and customers. In this way, a healthy relationship establishes between employees and the owner.

A healthy relationship is important for the well-being of the organization. A happy employee will never betray his organization and consistently take actions to make his organization successful.

  1. Makes society a better place to live

Society will become a better place to live if everyone follows ethical practices. A society where everyone thinks about themselves and take selfish decisions is not a suitable place for people to live. There will always be contradictions between the people.

However, we know very well that no two people can be the same. There will always be people who will indulge in unethical practices. At that time, ethical laws come into action and restrict unethical practices.

  1. Long-term profits

Organizations which practices malice activities might get profit for short period of time, but can’t retain that success for longer period of time and, on the other hand, Organizations which are driven by values and ethics are expected to be profitable for a long time though they might lose money in a short time.

For example, the Tata group faced a great loss of business in the initial 1990s,’ but soon it turns into one of the most profitable organization by not indulging into unethical practices. The company is one of the most successful companies in India and also known for its ethical conduct in business.

In simple words, it can be said that ethics shows the path of right doing to the organization and let it make decisions which are both in favor of its employees as well as customers.