- By Prachi Bhatnagar
“It feels a bit like a boxing bout in which one boxer accidentally knocked himself down before the opponent even entered the ring.”- Kartik Hosanagar, professor of ecommerce at The Wharton School, quipped yesterday after the Flipkart fiasco:
Flipkart’s Big Billion Day couldn’t be something that did not take your eye. It has become one of the blazing news of Oct, 2014 where they weren’t able to prepare for this holiday season to the extent they made promises.
The gigantic e-commerce did receive a lot of hits and great orders, but at the same time was bashed heavily on social networking websites for not-so-great reasons. Twitter and Facebook were flooded with consumer tweets and posts from various customers who called Flipkart a ‘fakester’ and alleged that the big sale is merely an eye wash.
Many other issues that cropped up during the whole day included:
- The pricing of several products got changed to their non-discounted rates for a few hours.
- The company ran out of the stock for many products within a few minutes (and in some cases, seconds) of the sale going live when they had ensured availability, anywhere from hundreds to a few lakh units for various products, but it was nowhere near the actual demand.
- A large number of people were buying specific products simultaneously. This led to some instances of an order getting over-booked for a product that was sold out just a few seconds ago.
- The shopping experience for many of the buyers was frustrating due to errors and unavailability of the website at times even after deploying nearly 5000 servers and preparing for 20 times the traffic growth.
It appeared that Flipkart increased the prices of products and then discounted them heavily, or in some cases took orders for items not in stock which obviously made the customer feel cheated.
However the crux of the problem lies with their infrastructure preparedness and not bad intention which was the popular sentiment across social media.
Emphasizing on the point of deploying 5000 servers and preparing for 20 times the traffic growth, the E-Commerce giant could have been saved from the crowning traffic if they had thought about the means to use a Cloud service like Amazon Web Services. What if they had used Auto Scaling feature of AWS when preparing for 20 times the traffic growth? They would have definitely been saved from the liability of sending “SORRY” messages to Flipkart buyers & breaking their trust.
Millions spent on Marketing could have been better utilized & used to serve customers better !
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