Flipkart sale: mega success or epic fail?

Online megastore Flipkart’s “Big Billion Day” sale generated unprecedented buzz in the online community but most of it, however, was not the pleasant kind. The sale drew fierce brickbats from online shoppers, annoyed by limited stocks and website crashes, as well as offline retailers who wrote to Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanding e-commerce be regulated.

#Flipkart was trending on Twitter through the day, but it was constantly behind rival Snapdeal’s #CheckSnapdealToday, which remained the top trend in India. Another rival eBay, with # AsliDealsONeBay, was not far behind either.

Disgruntled shoppers were ruthless in their criticism of the homegrown retail giant. By the end of the day, upset shoppers had turned their anger to crackling humour, churning out jokes at a relentless pace.

“New on FlipKart: Robert Vadra purchasing lands in Haryana on 99% discount,” said one shopper.

“Huge discount on Sold Out products,” said another. Some went on to mock even the error messages that the website purportedly kept returning.”

“Good news. The 500 Internal Server Error pages are gone from flipkart. Now you have 404 Page Not Found pages. 19.2% off on error message,” quipped a shopper.

Others went on to compare Flipkart to IRCTC, notorious for its sluggish web performance during peak hours.

“'Sold out' is to Flipkart what “Please try again later” is to IRCTC,” a shopper tweeted.

So did the festive ambush marketing trick - with a multi-crore advertising campaign waking readers up on a lazy Monday morning - work for Flipkart? Or did it end-up driving dissatisfied shoppers to rivals Snapdeal and eBay?

Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal sounded happy with the sale and thanked shoppers.

“…unprecedented day for us…we got a billion hits on our site today and achieved our 24 hour sales target of $100 mn in GMV in just 10 hours. We are truly humbled by the immense faith our customers have shown in us,” the duo said.

The sale started at 8:00 a.m. offering extravagant discounts - as much as 90 per cent - on several popular products ranging from cosmetics and apparel to electronics.

Most shoppers, however, found stocks running dry minutes after the sale commenced and announced they would rather shop with rivals Snapdeal and eBay.

Snapdeal reported a “15x growth in the traffic” on their website on Monday and claimed to have sold “a smartphone every 6 seconds, a laptop every 20 seconds and a tablet every 30 seconds” over the weekend.

“Apparel, Electronics and Home grew at over 200% as compared to the average for the last 30 days,” said a company spokesperson.

Other retailers claimed record sales too.

“Today (Monday), on the last day of our ‘Mission to Mars’ campaign, we have witnessed a 100% increase in sales since yesterday,” Amazon India said in a statement.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 8:18:26 PM |

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