E-commerce & Retail

AZB & Partners has established itself, against the context of India’s complex legal-social retail environment, as a market leader and preferred counsel for companies, domestic and international.

The Firm extensively works with a diverse set of clients on this space, ranging from large department store chains, big box retailers, luxury/specialty retailers, B2B & B2C online marketplaces and other players in the e-commerce sector. In fact, AZB & Partners set an industry-benchmark as the first to recommend and implement an online marketplace model. In this way, and more, we have often been at the forefront of shaping the landscape for the e-commerce sector in India.

AZB & Partners is able to place its clients at a unique competitive advantage by leveraging the Firm’s other core competencies in FinTech, Tax (both direct and indirect), Anti-Trust and Dispute Resolution. This multi-disciplinary and integrated approach is monumentally beneficial for clients and facilitates more informed decision-making. The Firm has handed several of the biggest and most complex transactions in the history of Indian retail.

Our work includes:

  • India-entry strategy; this includes foreign exchange and related exchange control issues, business models (inventory-based versus marketplace model of e-commerce), policy-level issues and compliances, product compliances (including for regulated offerings such as ammunition, drones, food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, personal care products, baby products etc.)
  • The establishment of wholesale distribution centres across the country
  • Formulation of business models for e-commerce companies that align with business objectives and the regulatory environment
  • Franchisee, supply and distribution arrangements in the single and multi-brand retail spaces
  • Legal metrology, labelling and packaging, digital content and censorship
  • Structured promotions, loyalty and privilege programs etc.
  • Drafting and negotiation of various commercial contracts including, listing contracts, terms of use, vendor contracts, contra-cogs agreements, distributorship agreements, brand-license arrangements, promotion and sponsorship agreements etc.
  • Intermediary liability & safe harbor, online payment processing (for onshore & offshore sellers), payment intermediaries, pre-paid payment instruments / stored-value cards, e-wallets, KYC-related issues, e-contracts, their validity and execution, data privacy, privacy policy, cross-border movement of data, lawful interception, etc.

The Firm also transparently engages with the relevant government departments on industry-specific issues to create an environment of policy clarity and certainty. The Firm has assisted leading multi-national international brands, including several luxury/ specialty retailers, with establishing their brands in India in single-brand retail through joint ventures or wholly owned subsidiaries, franchisee and distributorship models, obtaining required regulatory approvals and ensuring compliance with the sourcing requirements imposed by the Government. The Firm has recently advised and successfully obtained the government approval for the largest investment in the food retail industry in India.