The Big Billion Day
Months of endless efforts and hard work of hundreds of employees, priceless effort on technology update, scaling up thousands of servers, endless products and merchandize, jam packed warehouses, stunning & drooling deals and offers and just one moment to crash the dreams of millions of customers crumbling with a Flop Cart.
It was 06th October 2014 announced as the Big Billion Day by the mega online store of India Flipkart. Although Flipkart had already started promoting the day and had utilized all possible medium of promotions yet could not avert the misfortune. On the said big day when people unfolded the newspaper in early morning they found heart throbbing deals on Flipkart and could not resist logging into the website and ordered what seemed the best.
The Crash Landing
Flipkart had not anticipated rather underestimated the volume of traffic that hit the website on 06th October 2014. They were prepared and had pulled up their socks and buckled-up each and every possibility to mark the day a grand success. But something went wrong. The Flipkart banged up to a Flopkart. Few products sold and became out of stock within seconds after the launch, one product sold to multiple customers as website evolved consistency issues, some deals were unbelievable like few products were being sold at price of INR 1 that dragged unprecedented customers, website efficiency reduced as response time increased due to heavy traffic, at times few products showed the old undiscounted price and ultimately the website crashed. The other competitor SnapDeal also launched exciting offers on the same day to snatch customers of Flipkart whereas the big boss Amazon sat idle to observe the whole episode quietly. Flipkart fell into the dilemma whether to thank successful customers or apologize millions those who arrogantly left the website after unpleasant experience. Smartly, Flipkart did both the things.
What Went Wrong
Indeed it is not a harm to offer amazing and exciting deals to its customer on a single day to boost up sales and set a record. Well I tweeted on the day stating that today they would probably need massive air-conditioning to beat the overheated servers and unfortunately it went true as their servers crashed. After going through the series of events, the advertisement campaigns and the unbelievable deals of Flipkart such incident was anticipatory. There were plenty of reasons that Flipkart explained in its apology email to its millions of customers, such as:
- Underestimated the unprecedented traffic on website
- Overwhelming response from customers
- Inadequate scaling of servers
- Shortage of products
- Website consistency issues
- Increased response time of website
Still, in my opinion what proved to be the biggest blunder were Exceptional and Out of the Bound product deals. If the similar kind of deals is repeated in future, the occurrence of incident is certain as no one would like to miss the golden opportunity. There is no scale to anticipate the exact volume of hits on the website during such point. This will require a rigorous homework. It is not an easy task and yet not even impossible.
A Lesson Learnt
Flipkart has learnt a big lesson from this incident and of course this might be taught as a Management Case Study in many management institutions to the upcoming entrepreneurs of the world. Still I would say that their spirits are high and their dreams are full of aspirations and this way the leaders of Flipkart have showcased the true spirit of entrepreneurship. They lost one opportunity to fulfill dreams of their customers but they have not given up yet and they are gearing up for another Big Billion Day. Hats off to their high spirits and dare to dream big.