E-commerce firms Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal get mega sale right this year


September 16, 2015

Ashish K Tiwari, DNA (Daily News & Analysis)
Mumbai, 16 September 2015

"Quickest delivery! Ordered an AC frm @snapdeal #electronicsmonday ystrdy & zoom!its thr4 me today", reads a tweet by Sonali Jagwani, a Delhi-based HR professional, summing up the mood at the ongoing festive mega sale of e-commerce firms.

As the sale by Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal entered fourth day today, the online world was mostly praises.

@Flipkart MY #Wished_FullFilled after only 1 day wait, Flipkart amazing" Thanks #BigBillionDays more to come, a tweet by one of the shoppers was shared by Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal.

This is in contrast with the last year, when e-marketplaces had to face barrage of criticism on social media from consumers over delayed, wrong deliveries, server crashes and pricing issues.

E-marketplace players too seem to happy with claims of millions of products sold, particularly in mobiles and consumer consumer electronics.

While Flipkart claimed to have sold half a-million mobile handsets in 10 hours, Snapdeal in its Diwali Dil Ki Deal campaign shipped five million orders so far. Amazon’s The Great Indian Festive Sale claimed categories like appliances, television, health and personal care and movies witnessed sales growth in the multiples of 3-7 times times over its previous biggest sale (The Great Indian Freedom Sale).

Calling it a blockbuster beginning for their mobile category sale, Mukesh Bansal, head of commerce platform, Flilpkart, said, "The Indian mobile revolution has truly come of age and the half a million mobile handsets sale record is truly a testament to the growing demand for smartphones in India."

P Sanjeev, director sales – Huawei & Honor Consumer products, tweeted that 1,000 units of their latest mobile handset Honor7 got sold out in less than an hour on Flipkart.

Flipkart had claimed sale of 1 million products in the first 10 hours of the sale with 25 items sold every second.

Flipkart, which is conducting the sale only on its mobile-app, said over 1.6 million mobile apps were downloaded two days prior to the sale.

SoftBank-backed Snapdeal, which saw five million app downloads on the Day One of sale, said it has set new benchmarks this time around: About 98.9% orders were dispatched within 24 hours of order placement, achieving 98.6% on-time delivery.

Jayant Sood, chief customer experience officer, Snapdeal, said the significant ramp-up in supply chain and technology capabilities has translated into superior customer value proposition. "There is a 350% increase in first-time customers and over 70,000 units of large-sized products like furniture, beds, TVs, and sofas have been shipped in just three days. The electronics sale has seen the highest demand for mobile phone with Rs 500 crore worth of phones sold on Snapdeal that day."

In view of the continuing strong demand Rs 200 crore worth phones are available today, he said.

While attractive discounts and pricing played their part, strategies like exchange offers and additional discount offers from banks YES bank, Standard Chartered and Citi Bank too help lure consumers. According to Flipkart, about 50% of customers availed the bank offers.

Commenting on the smooth execution by e-marketplaces for their respective festive sale offerings, Devangshu Dutta, chief executive, Third Eyesight – a retail consulting firm, said that e-marketplace operators have learnt their lesson from last year’s debacle. "They have been able to manage high traffic better this time around by scaling up efficiently on the server side. This has ensured a glitch-free shopping experience for customers. Having said that, I still think that challenges pertaining to physical infrastructure continues to be an issue and e-marketplaces need to address it properly and invest in," said Dutta.

But still consumers stayed sceptical.

"At Rs 675/- the price is unbelievable. Hope the material is good," read a comment below a description of an apparel posted on an e-commerce website.

(Published in DNA.)