“In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.”- Doug Warner
I`ll start this article with a question, what`s the first word that comes in your mind when I say ‘Big Billion Day’? If you are going to answer this question with negative words such as fraud, cheating, fake discounts, e-commerce lies etc then probably you are a disgruntled customer who expected a lot from Flipkart`s ‘Big Billion Day‘.
Indian E-commerce giant, Flipkart decided to celebrate 6 October, 2014 as ‘Big Billion Day’ and promised the greatest sale with unbeatable offers, discount, deals and surprises. For many Indians, 6 October was claimed to be the Black Friday that they have been waiting for a long time. For small E-commerce entrepreneurs like me, 6 October was expected to be the start of a golden era and we believed that everything is going to change now, Indian consumers` mindset, perception towards online shopping, knowledge about E-commerce business etc. But we all were wrong!
Since its inception Flipkart has been growing steadily and recently raised $1B hoping to win the e-commerce battle in India against Snapdeal and Amazon. To get money from customers` pocket early before festive season starts, and to acquire more customers than competition during the festive season, Flipkart came up with the ‘Big Billion Day’ idea.
However, even before the sale began, controversy mounted as people realized that the prices of most of the products have been increased back to the MRP instead of the actual selling price – to compensate the huge discounts and products were costlier than the regular days.
Worse was that Flipkart was struggling to keep up with the high demands. Products were sold out in a matter of seconds, which shows just how limited the sales really were. Another big issue was the number of technical problems users were facing. People wanting to buy, and those having bought products on Flipkart during the Big Billion Day repeatedly had to deal with issues such as ‘Server Breakdown‘, in addition to the unrealistic discounts and auto-cancellation of orders.
Even though Flipkart announced revenue of $100 Million on the day of the sale but it left customers with disappointment, frustration, and distrust. There were many first-time online shoppers who had never trusted the online shopping before; there were many who had never heard about Flipkart before but now they knew about it and were amazed to see advertisements showing 90% discounts; there were many who had bad experiences with online shopping in the past and wanted to give it another try; and there were many who wanted to give a supporting hand to home-grown dreamers, Bansals.
And then there were small e-commerce entrepreneurs who believed that this day will break all the barriers and myths that people have in their minds regarding online shopping. We believed that Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal will pave a way for budding Indian entrepreneurs like me.
Going forward, Indian consumer will have difficulty trusting another e-commerce company, another breakthrough promise and another genuine offer. You not only did hurt your credibility but also damaged trust that Indian consumers were gradually putting in the online shopping.
I appeal to E-commerce giants such as Snapdeal, Healthkart, Amazon, Myntra etc. to be honest and genuine to the customer. Now-a-days customers are very skeptical as well as intelligent. By maneuvering numbers and showing catchy advertisement, you can win them for a short period of time but will lose in longer run. Brand royalty is the thing of past; you can only win their hearts by providing the best services with honest efforts.
Well what`s done is done but now it`s time to fix it.
LET`S FIX IT and take a vow to put customers before stakeholders and financial charts!
LET`S FIX IT and take a vow to focus on building credibility and customer relationship than revenue!
LET`S FIX IT and take a vow that we`ll never doubt customers` intelligence and manipulate discounts!