The Big Billion Day: Was It A Cheap Parlor Trick?

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The Big Billion Day: Was It A Cheap Parlor Trick?

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Big Billion Day

Well! It sure was a HUGE news? Some say it was a hype, some say it was a marketing move and I ask – Was it just a way to play?

I guess we will not have a conclusive answer at this, but there is no harm in trying to search for it :).

Like we all know now, the big billion day was expected to offer a huge discount margin on all the products, and some portals even quoted a discount as high as 80% which sounded like a great deal. Someone once told me – If it is too good to believe, then it probably isn’t true. Even I wondered this with skepticism when this deal was announced and I must say, I am not too surprised with the outcome.

The company claims that they hit the billion sale in a short span of 10Hrs which is damn cool for the company and for a layman who just sees this new caption, it really is amazing to know that a company has this much of strength in itself and is this capable. But at the same time it makes me wonder and ask a few questions as below:

1) What Does The Company Gain?

Well it is a natural first question to ask, it does not need any business acumen to do that, it is simple common sense. Lets try and answer this – Why did flipkart do it?

Was it because they felt good about the people they serve? 

Honestly that is a very beautiful thing for a company to do that, but who would go through a huge loss to do that?

Was it because they had reaped in profits and they wanted to dole it out? 

This also doesn’t lead me to a positive answer. Why would anyone want to do that? Esp a company which is under a loan from a lot of venture capitalists?

Was it because it might be of some use to them?

I think we are getting close now, no one wants to do such an elaborate action without gaining anything out of it. Basic common sense dictates that they sure were gaining something out of it? What was it?

There is no better publicity than free publicity! Few people talked about it at the start and at the end of the day we realize that everyone is talking about it, the newschannels are abuzz about flipkart and their big billion offer. And that is the publicity they didn’t pay for but yet it was a very smart one 🙂

2) What Do People Think Of It? 

Well, if I am looking from the outside, it feels like a steal, the offers seem damn good, 60%, 80% looks amazing on paper.


What if the products you want are not available?



What if the costs are increased drastically to give you an illusion of discount?


What if the server reads error when you are about to buy the product?


3) Why it pissed people off! 

Well it is one thing to take a customer for granted, it is one thing to create an illusion of discount, it is one thing to make someone believe that they are good, but then taking a customer for a fool is something which is never easy to forgive.

I am not sure what the marketing strategy was, but I am a little irritated that a customer was taken for granted so easily, as if he was a fool who would not understand what was going on and fall trap to a marketing strategy or a magic trick. I was surprised to see a few products which were available yesterday suddenly go out of stock.

My question is

– If you are not prepared to offer a discount on all of them, then why claim it? Why not say select products only? Why make such a big deal of it and drive in people only to prove to them that they are fools? Or try and convince them that this is the best deal available?

I mean, we are ok if you tell us it is expensive, we are ok and understand that a company needs to survive and flipkart had done an amazing job at it. But we are not ok being treated as fools. We are not ok being taken for granted. It is not a matter of money, it is not a matter of product, at some level, it just dug deeper and sent a message that they do not care about the customer and that is something which is becoming hard for me to digest. I honestly feel that it was an awful marketing strategy and it might have as well backfired on them.


4) The Outcome? 

Did flipkart lose out on its people’s trust by doing this?


Was it a cheap marketing stunt? A cheap parlor trick which angered many? Something which opened the customer up to newer services?

Well that is something we will be able to answer with time. Maybe they can recover from this, maybe the others will use this to their advantage and treat the customer with greater respect or maybe they will not pay heed to this and continue what they did. And if they do, I am sure it will be at their own peril!

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25 thoughts on “The Big Billion Day: Was It A Cheap Parlor Trick?

  1. He he, thank god I did not became a fool there, I wanted to purchase something today, but fortunately I get a much better deal on Amazon, and just I bought it and its price got increased by 12000 over there as well 🙂 So I became lucky 🙂

    BTW I was thinking you will feature my tweet as well in your post 🙂 I was thinking I am a creative one with few of my tweets like: and 🙂

    1. He he.. Thanks Alok :). It was a really stupid marketing trick and almost everyone came to realize that it was just a marketing tactic used to create traction. I am sure that some people will be mighty unhappy with what they did about this.

      My God!! 12k???!! That is way too much. I was searching for a cooler and everything seemed out of stock and I didnt even realize it was cos of the Bigbillion day. I guess now people came to know better that there are some really useful sites like amazon 🙂

      He he sorry Alok, I just did a #bigbillion search on twitter and came across these tweets. He he, I would have definitely put these up, :). Thanks for sharing here, more tweets about the fallacious marketing model 🙂

  2. Thank you Suraj.. I am quite pissed too, I really thought they were a business with the human angle, But the moment I realize that they do something like this to treat the very humans as fools is not acceptable.. I just hope that they realize that we are not fools. I dont even care for an apology or a reason if they have to offer, but if they learn from this and take things to the right direction, I will be more than happy.

    To be frank, I have found amazon much better than Flipkart over the last two months, the costs are competitive, there is no delivery charge which FK cleverly weaves into some of its products, and they deliver much faster than FK.. I think it is great that we have amazon to give FK a run for its money..

  3. Firstly I am not at all into online shopping or any online purchase. I don’t get the satisfaction out of it. So, I didn’t go for it. But seriously Flipkart was doing good this was not at all needed.

  4. In my opinion, this happens cause we can go over the top in the name of discounts and sale! Yesterday was a golden day for e commerce gaints. People just wanted to buy. If not on flipkart then the others. Shopaholics installed in each household now 🙂

  5. It is true that the prices were increased Excessively…I myself am the sufferer of the cheating.Thousands of other people have also faced the same. Also the products were not available as shown.Some people got their orders cancelled by Flipkart even after full payment stating Unavailability of stock.

    You can get more information on various other site.

    Flipkart’s Big sale Exposed –

    Big Billion day – a pricing Scam –

  6. I am a loyal shopper of Flipkart and I too like others was over excited about the Billion day sale, but was disappointed when everything was out of stock in a blink of an eye. But the biggest disappointment was that their flat 70 % and even flat 80 % percent on may products couldn’t beat the price their daily deal of the day and festive offers gave way to.
    But there is no denying that there was something in store for everyone at a discounted price ! I did end up buying so many things yesterday though I was glued to the screen for 6 hours straight.
    Which so much negative publicity of flipkart on twitter , It was very saddening, Flipkart has always provided the best to its customers and I am one happy customer. No complains people make mistakes and afterall it was just a day hyped about, if hit hasn’t worked for a few ,they should move on.. Flipkart is and will be my best OS ! And after they sent a ver very sweet apology mail, any disappointment faced is long forgotten 🙂

    1. Thank you Najm. I have been a huge fan of Flipkart and their policies. From the first day I bought a book from them which had a lovely bookmark to today I had a huge respect that an Indian company was out there doing some commendable work. I think the big billion day was a really ambitious one. But perhaps in retrospect I think they could have marketed in a different way, they need not have promised such huge discounts and mark ups just to give the customer a feeling of big discount. I understand that a company cannot undergo loss and it has to sustain itself and I dont even mind them having their own pricing. I took issue to only the factor that the customer was assumed to be stupid and I find it a little bit of a transgression which was not needed.

      I saw their apology mail and it was nice of them to do that, but somehow I feel that it would take a little more effort from them to win back the loyalty of its customers. It sure is not a permanent damage but certainly a set back..

    1. Oh :(.. Thats a bummer Anita.. I had forgotten it was the billion day and was looking for a product to compare prices with the other available choices. I was surprised to see that there were no products at all in that segment. I mean I seriously wouldnt mind a non discounted part but I do mind that they did not inform earlier.

  7. Nice analysis. It appears too many good things are happening too fast for Flipkart. It will be nice if an Indian start up company succeeds in taking on Amazon. But it should be based on ingenuity and hardworking not falsehood. I hope Flipkart is adopting former strategy. I agree no one gives anything for free or at 80% discount unless they are in distress sale or have jacked up price by 100% or actually have no intention to go cheap but to get publicity. These may impact public trust.

    1. Thank you Abhijit. I agree, as much as I would love to see flipkart succeed, I am happy that there are other companies which compete with it so that there is a good chance for the end buyer to make a choice. Otherwise it would be a strict monopoly which will make matters worse for the buyer than helping him out..

      And I do agree that a business has to survive and they cannot afford to give 80% on all, but if they aim to do it only partially, just a * at the end would have helped them save this embarrassment.

  8. To be honest I am not a die heart user of online shopping. I really had a bad experience once and since then I have stopped myself in investing time over there. I am not satisfied with the quality these companies do offer ever with or without discounts……:)

    1. Yes Priyashi, a couple of days ago a friend of mine wrote to me about a company called NDTV Indianroots. She said she was cheated off 700 usd for a product which claimed to be gold but ended up being copper.. It is such a sham 🙁

  9. Ha ha haa, thank you so much Preeti, I was actually a bit lucky too as I got the deal, which saved around 16K for me… My SEO knowledge though did not played much role into it 🙂

  10. On that day, flipkart was saying 30 % off on canon cameras , they were priced lower than that on amazon without any discounts.. This players should understand you cannot fool people forever. I believe Amazon is playing a fair game till now.

    1. Gosh really? That’s a terrible bummer. I do agree in principle to what they did but at what cost is the question. I do like amazon right now, they have reasonable discounts and no delivery charges as well. Flipkart of late is getting a little more expensive compared to amazon. If I recall, the last 10 buys I have made are from amazon..

    1. Keyur, We don’t really care about temporary traffic or crowd, we care about people and the things which can affect them. And this fits that bill very well I presume. And I like the Flipkart owned up to it and has regained trust. Although I like marketing done by Amazon much better, it is less intrusive and pushy..

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