They offer gadgets at amazing prices. But are incredibly difficult to get. Love them or hate them but there is no getting away from flash sales for those who go shopping online for their digital fix.
A flash sale is a discount or promotion offered by an e-commerce store for a short period of time. The quantity is limited, which often means the discounts are higher or more significant. The time limit and limited availability entice consumers to buy on the spot – aka impulse buying. Flash sales are held by a company to sell a limited stock of a product at a given time. Imagine, for instance, a store selling 50,000 phones at exactly 2 PM on a given date. Only the first 50,000 customers who visit the store will get the product. When all of this happens online, the stock can get sold out in matter of seconds.
Pioneered by Xiaomi in July 2014, the model of putting up limited stocks on an online platform for sale proved a huge success in building the brand for the Chinese smartphone major, prompting all and sundry to hop on. Xiaomi used the model successfully to quickly gain a foothold in the highly competitive Indian smartphone market and is today a market leader in smartphones overtaking Samsung in India. Recently, it sold more than three lakh units of its newly-launched Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro in just three minutes during its first online sale.
Despite these claims, many users tweeted with anger over the lack of stock and the opaque way in which the sale was held. Many unsuccessful buyers accused Xiaomi of using false marketing tactics to build big hype for the products.
However, a slew of companies including those in consumer goods and personal grooming segments are now using flash sales to introduce new products, as they feel the model is unique to their industries.
It is simple Economics. As long as demand is much greater, goods will be sold out fast. You cannot fight that. Even if everyone can buy the phone, it will STILL boil down to how fast you hit the ‘buy’ button. Critics and unsuccessful purchasers might carp about not being able to get it, but it is highly unlikely that it will convince companies to change their strategies. Not yet anyway. And contrary to what many had predicted, dissatisfied consumers do not always go for another brand. Xiaomi would have been dead and buried if consumers who could not get a phone at a flash sale immediately went and bought another at an open sale.
Its like a Gunfight –
“ It is not only the speed of your draw (pulling out your phone) that matters, but how fast you can click the ‘buy’ button after logging in.”