Snapdeal had a flash sale on 11th November following the format which Alibaba and to some extent even Amazon did. Snapdeal had a sale in an hourly format where every hour, there were different products on offer at a discounted price. Amazon.com too had an hourly sale with products on offer on the prices of Rs. 11; Rs. 1111 and Rs. 11,111 but it was available only for the App users. Alibaba on the other hand had a “Double -11” sale but not specifically for Indian markets. Previously Flipkart had a “Big Billion sale” launched before Diwali (23rd October 2014) which did not go very well with the customers.
Flipkart claimed that it has sold products worth $100 million (over Rs 600 crore) within 10 hours of its Big Billion Day sale, while Snapdeal marked its Diwali sales at Rs 1 crore a minute — which nearly results into a figure similar to Filpkart’s. While Alibaba managed to sell goods worth $8 billion in its Single's Day sale. Alibaba has been running the “Duble 11” sale since 2009 and it is very meticulously planned and executed.
User Review: Many users complained of price manipulation, products not being available in enough quantities, website being crashed and an inability to complete transactions after adding products to cart. Interestingly a few gained out of these sales also, who obviously enjoyed every bit of the sale.
Probable reasons for the lag:
- Technically not proficient – Indian e tailers are not ready technically to withstand the load and “online footfall” which comes on such sale days. This leads to servers crashing and thus a bad user experience.
- Self adjusted product pricing – It is a very competitive market. Deciding the price yourself may result in haphazard pricing and non uniformity.
- Claims vs. Final execution – Sometimes the print ads show appealing but misleading offers as seen in these sales. It is important to coordinate well to avoid the mismatch.
What is at Risk?
- Loyal customers – Customers, who have been loyal to one website, may lose the trust and thus stop buying from that website completely after a single bad experience.
- Bad name in the market – If the company does not meet the claims and expectations, it will result in lot of back-lashing and thus a bad brand name and value.
- Government intervention – Many vendors complained against Flipkart after they nearly spoiled the Diwali bumper sale which happens otherwise. It was claimed that Flipkart had to pay heavy fines in turn. It is a huge risk.
Some of the User Comments:
- Dear @snapdeal , please don't take your customers for a ride? Pathetic website never opens!! - The King of Queens (@vishysblue)
- Snapdeal ads on TOI front page, TV, Radio etc. Should have used some of that ad money to upgrade their servers for today. - Aditya (@forwardshortleg)
- @snapdeal do your SALE means ""not available "" - Sagar Doshi (DSK)
- Kya re Flipkart? Your MacBookAir 13" is Rs.56,490 and Snapdeal has it at Rs.49,999! - Karthik Srinivasan
- At this point, Flipkart should start selling servers for cheap, considering how frequently I see "Internal Server error" - Ashok
Indian e tailers need to go a long way to match the international standards.