Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale kicks off with glitches

Priyanka Pani Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018


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Buyers complain of slowing app, high prices; firm claims selling 10 lakh items in 10 hours

It appears flash sales do not strike a chord with consumers anymore. The much-hyped ‘Big Billion Days Sale’ by e-commerce giant Flipkart that kicked off on Tuesday midnight did not find many takers by afternoon as consumers complained of a slow-running app, jacked-up prices and unavailability of products.

The online marketplace’s five-day mega event that began on Tuesday with the sale on fashion products and apparel went on to trend on first position on Twitter during the morning hours but the buzz slowly faded out by the afternoon. This was also due to the fact that rivals Snapdeal had launched a sale a day before and Amazon’s festive season sale also coincided with that of Flipkart. The e-commerce players have spent a whopping ₹4,000 crore for the festival season campaigns.

BusinessLine spoke to consumers in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi who said that the excitement to buy during an online sale is waning as most of the e-commerce players are doling out discounts on highly marked-up prices.

“I got better deals during non-sale period. This time I found the prices were really high on Flipkart’s site,” said Shrabani Rout, a software engineer working with IBM in Bangalore.

Priyanka Srivastava, an HR professional in Mumbai, said: “I was really shocked at the prices of some branded shoes after discounts. It is outrageous pricing..”

Flipkart though said it had sold about 10 lakh products and clocked six million visits to its app in the first 10 hours of the second edition of the ‘Big Billion Days Sale’. The company, which directed its customers to install the app ahead of the sale, said that it saw 1.6 million apps installed in the past two days. Snapdeal, the second-largest online retailer, also in a statement said that its gross merchandise value or GMV has increased 17 times on the ‘Electronics Monday’ sale on October 12. Amazon did not provide any figures in connection with its festive season sale that started on Tuesday.

Hits and misses

This year, however, the five-day sale had its own hits along with a few misses. While the Flipkart website and app struggled to cope with the heavy traffic, the company seemed to have improved on logistics. A BusinessLine correspondent in Mumbai ordered a product at 1 am and received the ‘shipped by the seller’ message at around 3 am. On an average day, a Flipkart seller takes at least 10-12 hours to ship any product.

The Big Billion Days Sale, which started at 12 midnight, saw over hundreds of products go out of stock within 15 minutes, which also speaks volumes about the inadequate stocking of products by Flipkart sellers. This is despite the Bengaluru-based company launching special initiatives for sellers ahead of its flagship event.

The initiatives — ‘Flipkart Seller Campus’ and ‘Flipkart Helping Hands’ — were aimed at helping the sellers manage their business better during the five days. The programmes are designed to provide sellers with special training and professional guidance on managing the manpower.

Published on October 13, 2015

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