A few weeks ago, Flipkart 'The Indian e-com giant' announced 'The Big Billion Day' and said that it's going to be the biggest online sale ever. The sale was scheduled on 6 October 2014 and it built quite a lot of hype. Flipkart promised crazy deals starting from Rupees 1, huge discounts, up to 90% off on products and lot of other things. TV commercials, newspaper advertisements, online advertisements etc. started rolling out weeks before the sale and it attracted a lot of attention. Since the festive season was nearby, many people decided to complete their festive shopping on this day. The Big Billion Day was expected to be the biggest online sale, ever happened.
Finally the day arrived, the sale was suppose to start at 8 AM on 6 October 2014, people logged in well in advance to ensure they don't miss any deals. The Big Billion Day started at 8 AM sharp. Flipkart's website design got changed and deals were listed on the homepage. All deals were divided in different categories like Steal deals, Limited time deals, Limited stock deals, Save more etc. There were some deals like Samsung Galaxy Tab @ Rs.1350, Pendrives @ Re.1, Mobile phones @ Rs.99 etc. These were enough for pushing someone in the state of unconsciousness but before you realize, a freaking 'Out of Stock' sign started to appear. Within two seconds all the deals were 'Out of Stock' - Can you imagine?
What went wrong with the Big Billion Day?
As the minutes passed, The Big Billion Day didn't turned out as Flipkart wanted or claimed. The deals went out of stock in mere seconds leaving people behind. The discounts given were not that attractive as they claimed. Many people got disappointed over this and took on Twitter, the hashtag #TheBigBillionDay got flooded with high number of complaints, jokes and messages calling it Flopkart etc. Many people complained that the products they wanted were out of stock or were priced high. There were many other things which went wrong according to the buyers.
Steal Deals got Out of Stock within seconds of appearing which looked quite fake according to the buyers. Most of the other products also went out of stock within minutes, many people complained that the products they wished to buy were out of stock and they found it disappointing.
Throughout the sale the price of certain products kept fluctuating, many products showed a hiked price which was then discounted, for example; Danny Daze Aviator sunglasses were being sold at Rs.399 before the sale, on the Big Billion Day the price of same sunglasses was hiked to Rs.999 - then flipkart added the 50 percent discount and then the sunglasses were being sold at Rs.499 (Rs.100 more than the regular price), Is this what you call discount? People paid Rs.100 more for something which was cheaper on any regular day. This was just an example, same thing happened to many products.
Many blogs / websites posted articles calling Flipkart sale as scam, you can read such an article here, this post explains the price fluctuation which was seen yesterday. I personally noticed hiked prices, a day before sale I made a list of products to buy and also listed their price but on the sale day, some of those prices were hiked by 100-200% which was really unfair.
As I said above, many of the deals listed seemed fake and only for attracting customers. Many discounts given were added to the hiked price and in the end the price was adjusted to the original price of the product, in short, even after adding the so-called 'discount' the final price was equal to or still higher than the original price of the product seen a day before the sale.
Some examples of Fake Deals seen yesterday.
Samsung Galaxy Tab @ Rs.1395
USB Pendrives @ Re.1
Canon Printer @ Rs.0 (Can you believe this?)
and many others...
Throughout the day, Flipkart's website crashed a Billion times, throwing random errors every now and then. One thing which happened good yesterday was that 'People learnt the meaning of different HTML error codes' said a guy on Twitter, which was quite funny. The reason Flipkart gave was 'High number of traffic on the website which made the site crash' which seems quite genuine but whatever the reason might be, people weren't happy with that.
Ratings & Reviews were hidden
A surprising thing which happened yesterday was that the Product rating and Review section was kept hidden, nobody was able to access that. Normally those sections help you find out the quality of the product, by reading user reviews, one comes to know about the product, whether it is worth buying or not. Flipkart hid that section so that people had no choice but buying the product.
No Cancellation, No Refunds
Yes you heard me right, these were the terms Flipkart kept for the sale. If you bought anything during the sale, I'm afraid that you won't get any refunds and you cannot even cancel your orders. However you can get a replacement in case if the product delivered wasn't as said or has defects.
Ordered Products got Cancelled Automatically
Many people complained that the products which they already paid for and completed order process got canceled automatically, they received an email from Flipkart saying that the item was canceled and the amount will be refunded to their account within 6 days. There is no clear reason for why this happened but yeah this happened.
So these were the things which went terribly wrong and Flipkart faced a the consequences, many people switched to either SnapDeal or Amazon.in for their shopping, as they were also giving high discounts to counter the Big Billion Day sale, the only difference was that they were not having issues which Flipkart had. SnapDeal and Amazon made a lot of bucks because of the Flipkart issues, it was definitely a Big billion day for them. The Big Billion Day was expected to run for 24 hours, from 6 October 8 AM to 7 October 8 AM but most of the sale ended by the afternoon when people started switching sites, at 7 PM of 6 October, Flipkart concluded the sale.
Next Day Reports : Big Billion Day
Flipkart sent 'An Apology Letter' to all the registered customers via email. In that letter they apologised for what happened yesterday and also accepted that the sale wasn't what they planned it to be. Below is the exact letter they sent.
Even after such a bad sale experience, Flipkart managed to sell products over $100 million (600 crores) within 12 hours of the sale, which is quite big. Snapdeal is also earned an amount similar to that with the earning rate of 1 crore per minute yesterday. So I don't know about the customers, yesterday was sure big day for e-commerce sites.