Flipkart’s Big Bilion Day sale did not turn out as most people anticipated. The users were dissatisfied about the listed offers, product unavailability, order cancellations, technical glitches and what not. The company itself was unhappy about the team website and operations being under prepared to handle the massive traffic it got. Hence the founders of the Indian e-commerce company sent out a sorry letter to the customers, listing and apologizing for all issues raised by the consumers on Facebook and Twitter.
Read the letter here: Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal say Sorry for Flippy’s Mess on Big Billion Day
However, in all this digital mayhem there is one group of people who are being forgotten – the Sellers. Flipkart is a marketplace, remember? A morning after the sale we received a letter from one of the sellers from Flipkart telling what really happened behind the scene. We would not name the seller, but below are excerpts from what he wrote.
Today I , as a seller on Flipkart was very happy as my products were offered with deep discounts with help of suppliers and Flipkart promotions to gather good amount of orders and yes it did happen I received 4 times the regular order compared to regular days, this is the happy and sunny part of the story and the harsh part of story was Flipkart account deactivation or pending as they said where in sellers who receive more orders compared to regular orders need to clear existing orders first into order to receive new orders. And add this to slowness of seller panel, you are helpless. I know Flipkart more as a technology company for its slashn programme and recent hackathons but today patience of waiting was ill.
This is what Flipkart said in its policies “
‘Pending or deactivation’ account status in case of excess orders is NOT a penalty. It is to avoid the possibility of high seller cancellations, SLA breaches, pick-up reattempts and hence the resulting poor defect scores.’
The seller mentioned how other marketplaces do not have such harsh policies, hence we were initially skeptical about the authenticity of this story whether if its a move by one of Flipkart’s competitor. But soon after we got mails from other sellers from our network reaching out and independently confirming how they were left out, below are quotes from sellers on Flipkart.
They have had a tremendous response such that their infrastructure tumbled.On this pretext they kicked out all the Sellers in Categories where goods where selling like hot cakes.Only WS Retail prevailed.
They had indicated that non FA listing will be made offline on Saturday, 4th itself.They only have a finite logistics capability and hence the need to limit non FA sales.
We were told that their targets have been achieved and they are unable to handle orders any further.
We were told that due to pending orders on Sunday, our a/c status was changed to pending.
We received bumper sales on 6th but we also lost on 3 days of sales for this. At first, we were asked to delist all the items on which we cannot give a discount of 55%, which we did by 5th, then by 6th afternoon our a/c was made pending and only after 7th evening when we shipped all the orders our a/c was reinstated .So, for half a day of bumper sale we lost 3 days of regular sale.
Along with the first testimonial mentioned above, it is clear that the sellers were equally dissatisfied as the customers who were looking to shop on Flipkart. The founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal said “We ran out of the stock for many products within a few minutes (and in some cases, seconds) of the sale going live” So what was the challenge in allowing the sellers to participate and list their products?
Is WS Retail really Flipkart’s preferred seller like people often question? It is public knowledge that WS Retail and Flipkart go long back, and due to FDI regulations Flipkart had to break up and bring other sellers on board. As a marketplace, it is critical to give fair treatment to all sellers, then why the discrepancy?
This was not the first time Flipkart favoured WS Retail. Amongst others, one clear instance is Flipkart’s premium subscription of Flipkart First, as shown above, the company has made it clear that the it is in reality WS Retail First subscription.
Most of these sellers were those who were not part of Flipkart Advantage (Details shown above) sellers league, i.e. the sellers who handle the logistics of their products themselves.
Shown Above: Flipkart Wallet being exclusively for WS Retail
It is understandable that being a marketplace it is difficult to control the inventory and operations for every seller, but why is a single entity being promoted more than others?
If you want to share your selling experience – good or bad – on Big Billion Day, write to firstname.lastname@example.org