Customers who registered for the flash sale of the phone, which cannot be pre-ordered, were left shocked as the sale ended less than a second after it began
Mumbai: Pradipto Sarkar, 34, logged on to Flipkart at around 1.20pm from his office in Santa Cruz, Mumbai, eagerly waiting for the countdown timer to end at 2.00pm, when “Apple of China" Xiaomi would be selling 40,000 units of its Redmi 1S budget smartphone exclusively at the e-retailer’s site.
Sarkar had registered for this sale on 27 August at Flipkart’s Mi-store for the phone. The Xiaomi Redmi 1S was being offered for ₹ 5,999. The phone has been touted as the best under ₹ 10,000 by several tech publications. The price is also almost half of phones with similar specifications from India and a third or fourth of phones from other multinational manufacturers.
The phone cannot be pre-ordered, but one has to register for the flash sale. If a customer fails to buy the phone in the sale, he or she has to re-register for the next flash sale. This was the first sale for Redmi 1S. Xiaomi had earlier sold its flagship Mi3 in a similar way and many who registered for the sales did not get the phone.
As countdown entered the last few nail-biting seconds, an alert Sarkar kept his mouse ready and as soon as “Buy Now" button appeared, he clicked it.
The page refreshed and a message appeared “Today’s Redmi 1s Sale is Now Over", all within a split-second.
The entire episode left Sarkar dumbstruck as he tried to find an answer to what just happened.
He googled, “How Redmi 1S sold so quickly?" He found a report online, saying the phone sold out in five seconds.
“No way! It was over in a fraction of a second," he told Mint, wondering whether really was any sale!
He is not alone.
Soon after the Flipkart sale, Xiaomi’s vice-president, global, Hugo Barra tweeted: “Mi India: 40,000 Redmi 1S units out of stock in 4.2 secs today @Flipkart @MiIndiaOfficial"
Angry customers snapped back:
“You are providing wrong information, the sale went off in less than 1 sec," said Ameya Shelar, with Twitter handle @ameyashelar .
“Is it just a joke..!!!!!!" wondered Yadwinder Singh @yadwind39825136)
“No Way! It wasn’t there for even half a second. Something wrong with timer." Said Er.Vikas Gupta (@Vikasguptaorg)
“Bull Shit!" was the curt reply from MoSalah! (@AlokNot)
Flipkart first started such exclusive sales with Motorola’s Moto G smart phones. Those phones too were sold out in a few minutes, not in seconds.
Surely, a lot of other sellers are following such strategy. Three variants of the Asus Zen phone series will also be sold in a similar fashion with Flipkart, while competing websites are also taking note.
“The number of registered users we had for this sale surpassed that of Mi3. We sold 40,000 units in 4.2 seconds," a Flipkart spokesperson said in reply to a email query.