Flipkart Big Billion Day Sale: So near yet so far

Flipkart communicated how it wanted to achieve a billion order sales mark, but did not make its consumers a part of that story; and in that lies the big missed opportunity, says Sudhindra Venkateshamurthy, CD & Experience Design Lead, SapientNitro, India

e4m by Sudhindra Venkateshamurthy
Updated: Oct 14, 2014 10:45 AM
Flipkart Big Billion Day Sale: So near yet so far

The ‘Flipkart Big Billion Day’ generated massive social media chatter and managed to create the necessary excitement amongst the Indian consumers. As per official reports, Flipkart claims to have made a whopping  Rs 600 crores in just 10 hours. But is it enough to label the campaign a success? Amidst all the hype and excitement, Flipkart seems to have missed an important point – the fact that products are transient but consumers are the only constant factor. It is obvious that the campaign was intended to escalate sales along with getting people to experience Flipkart first hand. The Big Billion Day sale was a fabulous hook. With the fierce competition in the Indian e-commerce space, currently dominated by Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, Flipkart was looking to establish their leadership with this campaign. It was also an attempt to entice people to try out online shopping, especially for those Indians who weren’t still comfortable doing so. And Flipkart used the well tried and tested trick – which is to offer a place and time, display goods and dish out offers – akin to a good old rural market place. However, by doing so, they staggered. How much and to what extent? Only time will tell.

Firstly, the technical glitches did not support the campaign. There were massive loopholes in the entire process but the biggest glitch of them all is hardly technical. It is the compromise on the most important ingredient for any good brand – Trust. There are innumerable entries in their Facebook page that only point to one aspect – which is the lack of trust the consumers now have in Flipkart.

For some consumers, it was a “SOLD OUT” sign even before 8am, the starting time of the sale and for others, it was hiked up prices to offer discounts – these were major turn-off for consumers. Irrespective of the reason, it only goes to highlight the importance that trust plays in connecting brands with consumers.

The hype and the glitter of the past days also set expectations that it would be one of its kind, innovative sale but most consumers were disappointed. There was no personalization – be it through wish list or through one’s browsing history, there were hardly any combo deals, no surprise gifts nor anything truly remarkable that would have set the Indian e-commerce sector into a completely different trajectory.

In today’s day and age, when brands are going out of their way to connect with consumers through innovative customer service (Patagonia - Don’t buy this Jacket) or through great value they bring to the society (Lifebuoy – Gundappa, Kumbhmela Handwash), this Big Billion Day could have been a game changing day for Indian e-commerce. Instead, it became another “sale” day in the Indian consumer’s life.

This also goes to further emphasize the fact that it is important to create great experiences for people day in and day out – be it in incremental leaps – or chug on it relentlessly till it becomes a routine in the brand as well as the consumer’s life. The one day wonders such as the Big Billion Day event cease to capture the imagination of people for more than a few hours at a time of this super charged always-on world.

Flipkart managed to deliver the message of how they wanted to achieve a billion order sales mark and generate 100 million dollars of revenue, but did not make their consumers a part of that story. And in that lies the big missed opportunity of this hyped up event.

The author is Creative Director & Experience Design Lead, SapientNitro, India

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