Do flash sales and pre-orders really help the customer? When Motorola’s Moto G opened to a phenomenal opening in India in the second month of 2014, stocks ran out within minutes at midnight and the company had no idea how to cope with the demand. The problem persisted with the Flipkart website as well which is an exclusive retailer for the model. Motorola later chose not to go for flash sales or pre-order based sale for either Moto G or Moto E. But, Xiaomi changed the game.
When Xiaomi launched their phones in India through Flipkart as their exclusive retailer, they decided to go with the flash sales model. The sale was open for a couple hours and pre-orders were accepted until the stocks lasted. Xiaomi Redmi 1S and Mi3 followed the same pattern but surprisingly they got sold within seconds, once the pre-order window opened. That did not however, satiate all customers. Many, frustrated with the server crashes and inability to place orders, opted for a different phone instead. When Xiaomi claimed that the Redmi 1S sold out in four seconds, many smelt a rat and thought it was a fraud. It helps if there is more transparency.
A similar sale was posted by OnePlus One last week which lasted for just one hour and again customers faced issues with the server going awry and inability to place the order properly. The trend will change only if smartphone makers realize their mistakes and focus on customer satisfaction than on their own objectives.
Perhaps the better way is how companies like Lava, Micromax, Asus, LG, Samsung and others opened pre-orders before the actual launch to estimate the demand. This keeps both the customer happy and the company is sure of the demand. As for flash sales, only if the smartphone companies fix the server and other tech issues, can they justify flash sales!