India's largest e-retailer Flipkart Monday got a billion hits and sold goods worth $100 million (Rs.615 crore), as millions of customers from across the country went online to buy a plethora of products it offered at huge discounts.
"We got a billion hits on our site today (Monday) and achieved our 24-hour sales target of $100 million (Rs.615 crore) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) in just 10 hours," the city-based e-commerce player claimed in a statement here.
In e-commerce, GMV is an indicator of total sales value of goods sold through a marketplace in a specific period.
As the online traffic surged for the day-long special sales, the company's portal (Flipkart.com) crashed for a few hours late afternoon, resulting in complaints galore in the social media against the e-retailer for its website not being accessible and the inflated prices before discounts were offered.
"There was an internal server issue due to which we had problem in receiving orders online for some time due to surge in traffic. We have rectified the glitch and increased the capacity. The site is on and accessible," a company spokesperson told IANS later.
"Our technology team has been dedicated towards addressing errors and providing support to accommodate the largest scale of traffic and customer visits e-commerce has witnessed across the country," the company admitted later.
As Monday's date - October 6 or 6.10 coincided with 610, the flat number from where its co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal began their journey in 2007 to float the country's first e-commerce start-up - Flipkart offered a host of products and gadgets at huge discounts to mark the a 'Big Billion Day'.
"The Big Billion Day is an unprecedented day for us, as this is the biggest sale ever in India. We are delighted by the overwhelming response from our customers since 8 a.m.," the Bansals said in the statement.
With full-page advertisements splashed in leading newspapers across the country by the company, offering 'bumper discounts' and 'crazy deals' on orders placed Monday for consumer durables, electronic goods and a host of products at unbeatable prices, millions of customers logged in to its website at a time, as some products were available on first-cum-first due to limited stocks.
"With a range of exciting offers on quality products at disruptive prices available throughout the sale period, we have created history in Indian e-commerce," the company asserted.
The e-retailer boasts of 22 million registered users with four-million daily visits and delivers five million shipments a month.
"Our teams and sellers worked days and nights to make this sale a success - and our efforts paid off," Bansals added.
The company deployed a whopping 10,000 field staff to ensure all transacted orders are delivered to customers on time.
"A day-long shopping event that will unite a billion people in the country through unbeatable offers, unbelievable discounts, lucky draws and out-of-the-world deals," the company said in a sneak peek ahead of the special sales.
Noting that shoppers across the country go on a buying spree in millions during festivals like 'Akshaya Tritiya' in April/May and 'Dhanteras' during Diwali fest, the e-tailer said it wanted to replicate the concept of a single day of shopping on a massive scale online.
"We are talking offers across 70 categories, items available at unprecedented discounts and price points to flash sales and deals of the hour, lucky draws every hour," the statement pointed out.
Among products on sale were mobiles, laptops, cameras, watches, large appliances, clothes, shoes, toys and bags at heavy discounted prices.
In promos, the company said it would offer multiple items at Re.1, smartphones at 30 percent discount, laptops from Rs.15,000 onwards and 50 percent discount on fashion, perfumes and toys. It also promised great offers on some of its exclusive brands like Xiaomi, Motorola and Asus.
"In addition to these offers and discounts, we will have lucky draws throughout the day and 10 percent cash back offer on Standard Chartered and Citibank credit cards," the company noted.
With 15 million products across 70 categories, including books, media, consumer electronics and lifestyle on sale, Flipkart offers delivery services like in-a-day guarantee across 50 cities and same-day-guarantee in 13 cities across the country.
The company raised $1 billion (Rs.6,015 crore) July 29 in fresh capital from global venture funds for long-term strategic investments, especially in mobile technology.
"We believe internet will improve the quality of life for millions of Indians and e-commerce will play a big role in this change," Sachin Bansal said on that occasion.
"As the number of internet users across the country rapidly increases from 243 million currently, we want to empower as many citizens to shop or sell online, where mobile platform will accelerate the growth," Binny Bansal added.
To stay ahead of competition from global e-commerce players like Amazon and eBay, Flipkart also acquired rival and leading fashion e-tailer Myntra.com May 23 for an estimated $300 million (Rs.1,800 crore) to ramp up its focus on fashion.
Pioneering innovation in the supply-chain ecosystem, the company launched a dedicated logistics and was first to offer cash on delivery to change the way consumers bought products online.