Flipkart failed in executing bigbillionday

Flipkart’s Big Billion Day turns into failure

It is not everyday that one gets to see self-immolation attempt of this magnitude by a business entity which has almost redefined all rules of retailing in India. A company which was bellwether of e-commerce industry in India this morning is labeled as the biggest scamster Indian e-commerce industry has seen by this evening. What a fall and what a fail, whether you say with # or without, a failure of this magnitude is going to hurt Flipkart in a very significant multidimensional way. Flipkart stands exposed and their all actions and absence of them  would be under detailed scrutiny from this day onwards.

There are hundreds of reasons and theories floating around about why Flipkart got it so horribly wrong, I may not agree with all  being said but I surely agree that quite a few heads need to roll in Flipkart for this debacle. CEO, CMO and CTO, all three must do an introspection on account of – lack of sensitivity, foresight and immaturity in handling “big risk bigger business” initiative.

Here are a few pointers:

1. Product offering & volumes for deals didn’t mash-up. Complimentary products were not knitted well, there was zero up-selling.

2. Too many patches and new elements across the software creating “a never been here before experience” for regulars of Flipkart. There was too much of jargon and far too many variables. It looked like that there was an attempt to accommodate all whims and fancies of their investors, their investors investors and those of their cousins, uncles and aunts. A few comfort zones  which were left after this onslaught were handed over to  promoters, shareholders and employees to fool around with, which they did.

 3. Oo, we don’t believe in what we are doing, was the message Flipkart was going all over India with. “No cancellation, no refund” policy destroyed faith and trust factor  You buy, your luck, your fate, my money – this noise was heard by almost all customers who were not buying for the first time on internet.

4.  The whole user experience was pathetic, there were too many variables competing for real-estate on each page. Flat discount, minimum discount, upto discount and so many other terms competed against each other for eroding trust and confusing customer.

5. Market place model brings about its challenges, it is fully understandable. Limitations to Cash-On-Delivery items really hit hard hundreds of thousands of users who logged in with anticipation of good deals. There were no good deals on COD and that cultivated doubt & implanted suspicion about scam in the minds of buyers.

6. Pricing was not trustworthy.  Fictitious brands, fictitious prices kind of feel was all over the website and in all departments, making one doubt credibility of Flipkart. If one had already not given-up on that.

7. Flipkart underestimated financial muscle, product selection, logistics handling and preparedness of its worthy competitors Amazon and Snapdeal. They both reaped huge dividend of Flipkart’s failure and rickety execution.

8. Websites run on servers, not on pages of leading newspapers, looks like this fact was not told to Flipkart or if they were aware they choose to ignore it. They were not prepared to handle the kind of traffic they bought with massive marketing campaign. It looked like that there were no calculations and/or projections done to estimate server load.

9. A banana leaf over your head can’t save you from a hailstorm. Unprecedented technology issues ripped the site apart, there were bugs and  erroneous integrations at more lines of code than even a first time programmer would be allowed to getaway with.

10.  Product Selection was not balanced, it didn’t factor user choices and was too confusing and unconvincing. There was a rush for a few brands where products were well established nut they didn’t have adequate numbers to keep the excitement on.

Can Flipkart survive this debacle? I think it would. It is quite likely that they would get serious inputs from funds which have invested heavily in them. Flipkart is likely to take back a few steps and start running again.

 

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