Flipkart Big Billion Sale Scam

Right upon my return from the long weekend and still craving for the Durga Puja delicacies, social media (to be read as Twitter) served me this for my morning breakfast news.

With Dashami and Dusshera behind us and a fast approaching Diwali, this year October has turned to be the month of festivals leading to higher spends from the Indian consumer. A perfect time for the Indian eCommerce brands to lure them with heavy discounts and bring more eyeballs to the portal. So I wasn’t surprised by Flipkart’s #BigBillionDay ad on print but I was surprised to see Snapdeal’s quirky ad response on the same print, same day at the back. Controversial ads always find a spot on the Times Of India!

Never mind, with people waking up a little late on Monday, even though it is still a long weekend with Eid celebrations going on in different parts of the country, Twitter trends have started showing the results of the #BigBillionDay. The ecommerce company which is still reporting losses, has launched a special platform for this Monday sale and is also believed to have spent tens of crores on advertising, discounts, technology and logistics for the single-day sale, reported Live Mint. Stating as the biggest sale ever in India, Flipkart has been marketing about the event for 10 days now.

Flipkart is hosting what it claims to be its biggest sale today with discounts and offers across 70 categories. The online marketplace is calling it ‘The Big Billion Day’ and says it has dedicated 10,000 field staff to fulfill orders, reports TOI. As part of the sale, the company says it is offering multiple items at price of Re 1, up to 30% off on smartphones, laptops starting at Rs 15,000, fashion and perfumes at 50% off and toys at 50% off, among others. It is also hosting exchange offers on televisions and phones.

With a 360-degree marketing effort Flipkart was hoping to cash in on the prolonged weekend but looks like the online verdict seems to be stating another story. #BigBillionDay has been trending on the top of Twitter India Trends but what is interesting is that #CheckSnapDealToday has been giving it a stiff competition. As I write this piece, #CheckSnapDealToday has been on top followed by #BigBillionDay. Another hashtag #Flipkart has been giving company to this entire fight of the mighty eCommerce players to woo maximum customer attention during the festival month in India.

The sale that started at 8 A.M. hasn’t gone the way the company would be dreaming of. While most of the techies have been debating on social media that Flipkart has been increasing selling prices right before the sale, the Flipkart sale crumbled due to the increased load. Apparently one of the biggest eCommerce players in the country, while spending loads on advertisement, didn’t do much brainstorming on offering a smooth shopping experience. The broken site was not the only problem with Flipkart; not getting order confirmation, items not getting added to shopping cart are also some of them.

In short Flipkart left its online reputation to be butchered on social media. Facebook and Twitter are now spammed with the hilarious reactions of customers and how Flipkart is deceiving all of us. Facebook has a page named ‘Flipkart Big Billion Scam Day’ with 174 likes already, and is asking for meme ideas for the occasion. Some other reactions that are gaining attention on Facebook are curated below:

The Twitter community which is always waiting for such occasions, is already rolling on it. Below are some of the tweets that capture the user experience:

Like always Flipkart has promised to look into the matter and resolve the issue. A company spokesperson confirmed to Business Standard that the e-commerce giant’s servers have not crashed. “There was an error which has been corrected. Our team is prepared to check all stress points. The event is very successful and very well managed so far,” the spokesperson said. Not sure how are they going to work on the hurt reputation though.

Meanwhile Snapdeal is minting on the opportunity created by Flipkart. Undoubtedly, it has scored full marks on the ambush marketing on print but it still remains to be seen if customers are moving to its domain after Flipkart’s fail on first day. Amazon, on the other hand, has hijacked the hashtag to create a website called ‘BigBillionDay.com‘; no points for answering that it leads to the Amazon website!

In the end, it is just a marketing game or as NBW says “Can We Please Stop This Marketing Chutzpah?” With India Inc already set to spending over Rs 2,000 crore on advertising, marketing and promotions, Flipkart which is one of the biggest spenders on advertisement and marketing promotions. might as well have had spent some more money on betterment of customer shopping experience and moreover tried not to deceive customers in the name of mega shopping deals.

For now Flipkart’s ambitious “The Big Billion Day” sale has successfully transformed into the “Big Scam Day” or “The Greatest Scam Ever.”