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Sold in a flash! E-tailers move to the flash sale model

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The concept of , that started gaining significant momentum in India in 2014, thanks to smartphone makers Xiaomi and Hugo Barra who introduced the term ‘Smartphone ’ in India, has suddenly begun to grab the fancy of various e-commerce players in the country.

Mumbai- based BookMeIn, an online marketplace for services, is trying its hands with the model by hosting India's first flash sale on 'services'.
Mumbai- based BookMeIn, an online marketplace for services, is trying its hands with the model by hosting India's first flash sale on 'services'.

Last year, online fashion lifestyle brand Fashionara.com, completely moved to the flash model offering daily sales at a discount of 40 per cent and 70 per cent, with a view to differentiate from bigger rivals. Now Mumbai- based , an online marketplace for services, is trying its hands with the model by hosting India’s first flash sale on ‘services’.

Starting from June 19, the portal will offer all its services; from martial arts, kickboxing, gym, hair wash, hairstyling, Zumba, B-boying, tattoo, car wash, body spa and dental care, for an unbelievably slashed rate of Re. 1. However, unlike the normal norm of flash sales, where consumers have to buy the products in real time, BookMein has kept the sales open for the entire day until June 21, 2016.

So what is a Flash Sale?

Flash sales tempt buyers with too-good-to-be-true prices on exclusive products from some of the best brands.

Sites that often use flash sales as a method of attracting a consumer base develop a large targeted potential buyers database. They begin with an offer, followed by finding consumers on email, online ads, Facebook, etc with exciting invitations from pure-play online retailers.

They test the buyer base, with rich product data and personalized offers. Once they have a large enough following, they begin by customizing offers that appeal to consumers’ likes, preferences and behavior, significantly increasing the likelihood of them clicking and buying the products.

The only difference from a normal sale is that in order to get their hands on the aforementioned generously discounted product, consumers need to click and buy in real time.

The concept of the flash sale originated in Europe in 2003 to much success; the phenomenon made its way to North America in 2007, a questionable time as the Great Recession was looming. Despite investors’ doubts of long-term success, this innovative e-commerce business model continues to claim a significant stake in the international retail landscape. Some US based flash sales sites like Gilt, Fab and Rue La La have reported turnovers between $100 million and $1.69 billion.

In India, smartphone flash sales have become the hottest sales strategy for many CDIT brands including Xiaomi, Micromax, OnePlus, , Huawei and more. Last year, made headlines with its first flash sale for the K3 Note phablet on . In just over five seconds, Lenovo K3 Note went out of stock on the site, having sold a total of 47,440 units of the product.

Also Read: Gone in 5 seconds: Lenovo sells 47,440 K3 Notes in 5.2 secs on Flipkart

With the announcement of BookMeIn flash sales on services, the company sees the model appearing as a win-win experience for both its customers and vendors.

“Through the plethora of services on offer at BookMeIn, we are looking at making the lives of people simple and hassle free. The flash sale offer is a mutual effort to create a win-win experience for both customers and vendors,” Co-founder BookMeIn, Siddharth Dalal said.

“Exorbitant pricing and lack of time are the most common factors that hinder customers from indulging in their fancies. With this sale, customers can benefit from experiencing new things at the minimal cost of Re 1, while vendors will be able to attract more customers to their services through BookMeIn. We are confident that our initiative will be a highly-engaging channel and will act as a platform, where customers get connected to the ‘right vendors at the right time’. While we assure to take care of the price point, we want customers to spare some time and make use of the exciting three-day offer to suit their varied needs,” he added.

To participate in this flash sale, customers will have to log onto BookMeIn’s website or just download their Android app.