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A month after 'Dhamaka' sales, Indians still flock to e-tailers for more

Snapdeal site crashes amid 'regular sale'; extravagant advertisements said to be driving traffic

Itika Sharma Punit  |  Bengaluru 

Diwali is long over and the new year is six weeks away but Indian shoppers do not seem to tire of buying online. After a series of deep-discounts by e-commerce firms drawing millions of clicks through October, e-tailer Snapdeal created another buying frenzy with a 'savings day' sale on Tuesday.

Even as a Snapdeal spokesperson said the sale was a 'regular feature' on the site and at least five such 'savings days' had been executed earlier, buyers' rush from early morning caused a temporary server crash, soon after the sale began at 7 am.

Unlike broad-based flash sales during the festive season, Snapdeal's one-day fiesta was limited to a few items.

Experts believe the response has much to do with extravagant advertising by e-commerce firms. "It is possible that a lot of those landing on the websites are attracted by advertisements running on television and in newspapers," said Arvind Singhal, chairman of Technopak, a retail-focused management consulting firm. Snapdeal had been running TV ads for a few days.

A post on micro-blogging website Twitter, perhaps summed the situation well: "The possibility of the server getting down is directly proportional to the size of advertisements in newspapers."

In an attempt to grab a bigger pie of the consumer's wallet, e-commerce majors Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and Myntra have been spending aggressively on advertising. Some experts have said these handful of online retailers could upset the pecking order of India's advertising industry in a year. According to Anupriya Acharya, group chief executive of ZenithOptimedia India, e-commerce as a category has over the past year seen a jump of three to four times in ad spending - from Rs 200-300 crore last year to Rs 1,000 crore now.

On Tuesday, while several consumers took to social media to share their grievances about the Snapdeal site crash, many others said they visited the website to either compare prices or for window shopping. "I saw the advertisement on TV and since there was not much work in the early hours, I browsed through Snapdeal," said Joceline Joy, a Bengaluru-based professional.

Technopak's Singhal said on reason for an increased traffic leading to crash of e-commerce sites during discounts could be buyers with no serious intention to make purchases or those there only for "window shopping".

"You might not want to actually shop but you would anyway walk around in a mall," he said.

Another Twitter post echoed this observation. Mumbai's Harsh Gupta (@harshbg) wrote: "I end up landing on #SnapdealSavingsDay page every 5 min... just to check if Nexus 5 has dropped down!!"

  • Flipkart's site crashed multiple times during its 'Big Billion Day' sale on October 6, 2014; the company faced severe backlash on social media; co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal served an apology
  • Amazon India website crashed temporarily in October, when the company was holding its week-long 'Diwali Dhamaka' sale
  • Flipkart website's first crash since inception took place on July 23, when Xiaomi's Mi 3 mobile phone went on sale exclusively on the site
  • Air India's website went down temporarily due to overload on August 27, after it offered tickets at Rs 100 each

Flipkart's 'Big Billion Day' date October 6, 2014 was wrongly mentioned as
October 6, 2015, which has been corrected. We regret the error.

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First Published: Wed, November 12 2014. 00:56 IST