E-commerce websites now days are tying up with device manufacturers to sell the devices from their website. And they are going from pillar to post to ensure they gather the maximum possible attention. And for that, they hold sales and further they engage users on various social networking websites using various hastags. So in a flash, the e-commerce website and the brand will see their #Hastags trending on twitter. One of the best ways to create impact on users and have a hype around the product is the concept of Flash Sales. Flash sales are catching up with the majority of users. But for India which is home to over 1.2 billion people, the impact of Flash Sales is nothing but crashed servers. Something that is a worry…
A couple of years ago,the poster-boy of Indian e-Commerce space – Flipkart came up with a big billion day sale which proved disastrous for the company. Website crashing, products not found, misplaced orders and payments were few of the numerous issues people faced. And it was a great lesson learnt not only by Flipkart but also other e-commerce players. The impact it had on the e-commerce industry was immense and finally led to the CEO of Flipkart offering a public apology to all the users. They came with a flash sale in the following year, it was better than the former one but still faced tech glitches. One of the recent example of failed sale is of the Freedom251 – a smartphone avaiable for 251rs. The phone which looks amazing on paper was scheduled for booking today morning and all that users got to see was a blank screen. There was so much hype around this device that due to the huge load, the servers crashed much before the schedule start time.
Why do we see crashed websites during Flash Sales ?
With the hype that is generally created around a new product, the companies assume that there will be many visitors to the website and are somewhat prepared. However, they miscalculate it, every time. The sudden rush of users is unprecedented and leads to server crash. This has a huge impact on the servers which serve users with a blank screen, or 403, 500 and other errors. For a country with 1.2 billion people, even if 20 percent people get online to claim a product, chances are high that the servers will crash. And what follows next is bashing on Twitter. For example you can follow the #Freedom251 hashtag on Twitter to have a good laugh.
How can server crash be prevented during Flash Sales ?
- One of the best ways do it is would be pre-registering the users, so that only the registered users can participate in the flash sale. And if the number of registered users is capped that would result in a smooth experience for the user as well as the company. It will have a positive impact on the image of the company and the product as well.
- If a company is expecting a huge rush, they should ramp up their servers so that they will be able to handle the load. One of the better ways to do it would be using a network of servers spread across a country. So when a users logs on, his location is captured and it directed to the nearest server. In that way, flash sales would have a lesser impact on server crash.
- Another way would be collaborating with 3rd-party players to sell the product. In the case of Freedom251, the relatively new company Ringing Bells decided to take the sale head on and unfortunately it didn’t go well with the people or the company. They could have tied up with any of the existing e-Commerce companies and sold the product. Because if you go through the code of the website, you’ll realize that its written by a novice.
So, India needs to learn from such incidences. The impact of this should be such that the issue never crop up again. It’s like if they want to MakeInIndia, then they should make servers than can handle at least 50 million people at one go, otherwise it’ll be like Tumse na ho paayega !