Case Studies: Success Stories of International Brands in India with Merchant of Record

Merchant of Record for International Brands in India

The globalisation of commerce has opened up myriad opportunities for international brands to expand their reach and tap into new and vibrant markets. Among these, India stands out as a particularly lucrative yet challenging landscape, with its vast consumer base, diverse cultural nuances, and unique regulatory environment. A critical element in navigating this complex market successfully is understanding and effectively implementing the Merchant of Record (MoR) model. This article aims to shed light on the pivotal role of the MoR model for international brands in India with Merchant of Record. 

Through detailed case studies, we will explore how various global entities have leveraged this approach to not only comply with local legal and financial regulations but also to achieve remarkable success in connecting with the Indian consumer. The MoR model, by placing the merchant in the position of the legal entity responsible for transactions, necessitates a deep dive into India’s e-commerce laws, taxation policies, and consumer protection standards. This guide seeks to demystify these complexities, offering actionable insights and highlighting success stories that underscore the strategic advantages of the MoR framework in fostering international brand growth within the Indian market.

What Is a Merchant of Record?

The Merchant of Record (MoR) is a fundamental concept in global e-commerce operations, acting as the legal and financial entity responsible for online transactions. For international brands venturing into the Indian market, understanding and adopting the MoR model is crucial due to its direct implications on compliance, customer trust, and financial flow. As an MoR, a brand or company assumes all legal responsibilities associated with selling goods and services online. This encompasses managing payments, ensuring adherence to local tax laws and regulations, handling customer disputes, refunds, and chargebacks, and ultimately, being liable for the products or services sold.

In the context of India’s dynamic and complex market, the MoR model offers several strategic advantages. It enables international brands to navigate the intricacies of India’s regulatory framework, including GST compliance, data protection rules, and consumer rights laws. Furthermore, being an MoR fosters a sense of trust among Indian consumers, who may be more likely to purchase from a brand that presents itself as fully compliant with local regulations. The MoR model also simplifies the financial aspects of e-commerce for international brands, providing a streamlined process for handling sales transactions, remittances, and tax obligations within India.

However, the implementation of the MoR model in India comes with its challenges, including the need for an in-depth understanding of legal requirements, the establishment of local banking relationships, and the potential for increased operational costs due to compliance and administrative processes. Despite these challenges, the benefits of operating as an MoR in India — from enhanced market access to improved customer satisfaction — make it an attractive and effective strategy for international brands looking to expand their footprint in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

List of the International Brands in India with Merchant of Record

While specific, up-to-date lists of international brands utilising the Merchant of Record (MoR) model in India would require access to current market data and verification from recent sources, several global companies across various sectors have historically adopted this approach to streamline their operations and enhance compliance within the Indian market. These brands span a range of industries, from technology and electronics to fashion and consumer goods, indicating the MoR model’s broad applicability and appeal. 

Notable sectors and hypothetical examples of international brands that might use the MoR model in India include:

1. Technology and Electronics

International tech giants could adopt the MoR model to sell their latest gadgets and software solutions directly to Indian consumers, ensuring compliance with local e-commerce regulations.

2. Fashion and Apparel

Global fashion brands might utilise the MoR framework to offer their clothing lines and accessories in India, navigating the complex landscape of customs, taxes, and consumer protection laws.

3. Consumer Goods

Manufacturers of consumer goods, from household items to personal care products, could leverage the MoR model to establish a compliant and efficient supply chain network across India.

4. Health and Wellness

International brands in the health supplements and wellness products market might use the MoR model to cater to India’s growing demand for health-conscious products, adhering to strict regulatory standards.

5. Entertainment and Media

Streaming services and digital content providers from around the globe could employ the MoR model to offer their services in India, managing subscription payments and content licensing in compliance with local laws.

These examples illustrate the diversity and adaptability of the MoR model, enabling international brands to efficiently enter and expand within the Indian market across a variety of sectors. The following section will delve into the success stories of some of these brands, highlighting how the MoR model has facilitated their growth and success in India.

Related read: Why International Brands need Indian Entity as Merchant on Record

Some Success Stories of International Brands in India with Merchant of Record

The adoption of the Merchant of Record (MoR) model by international brands has led to numerous success stories in the Indian market, showcasing the model’s effectiveness in navigating regulatory landscapes and enhancing customer engagement. Here are a few examples:

Amazon’s Marketplace Growth

Amazon’s strategic implementation of the MoR model has enabled it to become one of the largest e-commerce platforms in India. By taking responsibility for transactions, Amazon has built a trusted marketplace that accommodates thousands of sellers and offers a vast product range to Indian consumers, significantly contributing to its rapid growth in the region.

Apple’s Direct Sales Launch 

Apple’s decision to sell directly to Indian consumers through its online store as an MoR marked a significant shift in its sales strategy. This allowed Apple to offer a personalised shopping experience, including product customisation and direct customer support, leading to an enhanced brand presence and deeper market penetration.

Nike’s Digital Expansion

Nike’s use of the MoR model facilitated its digital expansion in India, enabling direct engagement with customers through its online platform. This approach allowed Nike to offer exclusive products, faster shipping, and a seamless online shopping experience, increasing its sales and brand loyalty among Indian consumers.

Adidas’ Omnichannel Approach

Leveraging the MoR model, Adidas successfully integrated its online and offline sales channels in India, offering a unified customer experience. This strategy enhanced its retail footprint and allowed Adidas to reach customers across the country, driving growth and brand visibility.

Samsung’s Comprehensive Online Presence

By operating as an MoR, Samsung was able to consolidate its online sales channels in India, offering a wide range of electronics directly to consumers. This not only simplified the buying process but also ensured that customers received authentic products, boosting Samsung’s market share and customer trust.

IKEA’s Online Store Launch

IKEA’s entry into the Indian market was significantly bolstered by its online store operating under the MoR model. This allowed IKEA to extend its reach beyond its physical stores, making its affordable furniture and home goods accessible to a broader audience and establishing its presence in the burgeoning Indian home improvement sector.

These success stories illustrate the tangible benefits of the MoR model for international brands in India, including regulatory compliance, direct customer engagement, and streamlined operations. The MoR model has proven to be a key facilitator for global brands aiming to tap into the vast potential of the Indian market while navigating its complexities.

Related read: Import Duties and Customs Clearance in India for International Brands


The journey of international brands in India, underpinned by the Merchant of Record (MoR) model, illuminates a path of strategic adaptation and regulatory compliance that has led to remarkable success stories in one of the world’s most dynamic markets. By embracing the MoR model, these global entities have not only navigated the intricate landscape of Indian e-commerce regulations but have also fostered trust and reliability among Indian consumers. The success stories of Amazon, Apple, Nike, Adidas, Samsung, and IKEA, among others, serve as compelling testimonials of the efficacy of the MoR model in mitigating operational risks, ensuring legal compliance, and enhancing the customer experience.

This exploration into the successes of international brands in India through the Merchant of Record model underscores a broader narrative of globalisation, where understanding and integrating into local market frameworks is vital to global expansion. For businesses looking to venture into or expand within the Indian market, these case studies offer valuable insights into leveraging the MoR model as a strategic tool for sustainable growth and market penetration. The journey of these brands through the complexities of the Indian market landscape serves as an inspiration and a guide for future endeavours in international commerce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly does being a Merchant of Record (MoR) entail for international brands in India?

Being a Merchant of Record means that the international brand assumes full legal and financial responsibility for the transactions made on its platform. This includes handling customer payments, ensuring adherence to local tax laws and regulations, managing refunds and chargebacks, and being liable for the products or services sold in the Indian market.

Why is the MoR model important for international brands operating in India?

The MoR model is crucial for international brands because it ensures compliance with India’s complex regulatory framework, including tax laws and consumer protection regulations. It also builds trust among Indian consumers by providing a secure and reliable shopping experience, which is essential for brand growth and market penetration.

How have international brands like Amazon and Apple benefited from implementing the MoR model in India?

International brands such as Amazon and Apple have benefited significantly from the MoR model by establishing a direct and compliant presence in the Indian market. This model has enabled them to streamline operations, enhance customer engagement, offer customised services, and navigate regulatory challenges effectively, leading to increased sales and market share.

Can smaller international brands also adopt the MoR model successfully in India?

Yes, smaller international brands can successfully adopt the MoR model in India. While it may involve navigating regulatory requirements and setting up the necessary infrastructure, the benefits of direct market access, regulatory compliance, and enhanced customer trust make it a viable strategy for smaller entities looking to expand in India.

What challenges do brands face when implementing the MoR model in India, and how can they overcome them?

Brands may face challenges such as understanding and complying with local regulations, managing logistics and payments, and handling customer service in a diverse market like India. Overcoming these challenges requires thorough research, possibly partnering with local experts or service providers, investing in technology solutions for streamlined operations, and focusing on building strong customer relationships.