Billed as India’s largest discount sale ever, e-commerce company Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale on Monday brought with it some unwanted backlash on the social media, with disgruntled shoppers taking to Facebook and Twitter to vent their ire over server “crashes” and “misleading” pricing claims.
The website’s servers seemed clearly overloaded within a couple of hours of the sale opening early in the morning, with many users complained of landing on error pages or seeing their transactions being interrupted midway through. Additionally, consumers claim that offers advertised by Flipkart in the newspapers are not available on the website.
“The traffic was heavy but server did not crash,” Flipkart spokesperson said, but refused to give any details. A statement by Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal said: “Our technology team has been dedicated towards addressing errors and providing constant support to accommodate the largest scale of traffic and customer visits e-commerce has witnessed across the country.” CEO Sachin Bansal claimed his company hit its target of $100 million in gross merchandise value (value of goods sold) in 10 hours.
The day also saw significant offline and online activity by Flipkart’s rivals Snapdeal and Amazon India, with Snapdeal runing a campaign with the tagline: “For others it’s a big day. For us, today is no different.” Amazon has been running a sale from 4-6 October, calling it the Mission to Mars weekend.
“Snapdeal had a record breaking day of sales on October 6, 2014. We witnessed sales of over a crore rupees a minute, with lakhs of products being sold in a single day,” its Co-founder and CEO Kunal Bahl said in a statement.
Flipkart had run massive marketing campaigns, with advertisements splashed across newspapers and outdoor media announcing its discount sale on Monday. Within hours, though, exasperated users took to Twitter, Facebook and blogging to attack the company’s pricingclaiming that in some instances, the “discounted offerings” were actually priced higher than on rival e-tailing sites while in other cases, the mark-up prices were seen to have been first hiked, and then ‘discounted’ to a prices close to market rates. Additionally, consumers claimed that offers advertised by Flipkart in the newspapers are not available on the website.