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Amitava Chattopadhyay


Amitava Chattopadhyay
Amitava Chattopadhyay


Hello. Welcome to my musings about the world of branding, marketing and innovation. Apart from my research and publications in the field—case studies, journals, and articles / interviews in popular media—you will find here my opinionated commentary on related themes from around the world, especially about brands from emerging markets trying to make it in the big bad world of multinational competition.

In the Media

Coverage at INSEAD Knowledge

  Jul 25, 2014

When Per­sis­tence Backfires

Pushy customer service representatives trying to drastically alter the decisions of consumers can end up being a costly headache. When Ryan Block, a product manager at AOL, tried to cancel his personal Comcast internet service, he hadn’t banked on a 20-minute verbal wrestling match with a customer service rep hell-bent on retaining him.




Recent Coverage

 

Brands cry­ing wolf (stock out) once too many times can hurt their own brand rep­u­ta­tion and that of their retailers’!

A Times of India arti­cle on July 29, 2014, report­ing on the launch of the Mi 3 smart­phone by Xiaomi, the Chi­nese smart­phone man­u­fac­turer, said that “Xiaomi has claimed that its Mi 3 smart­phone went out of stock in just 5 sec­onds, … when it was put up on sale on Flip­kart today. Last week, it had taken 39 min­utes for the stock to fin­ish when Mi 3 was first put on sale by the company…Xiaomi has, like last time, not revealed exactly how many units were up for sale in this round.”
Xiaomi makes a mockery of Mi 3 sales - The Times of India
Many com­pa­nies delib­er­ately engi­neer stock outs to cre­ate demand as a stock out can be inter­preted as a stock out can be a sig­nal of huge demand. How­ever, there is a fine line in man­ag­ing this and repeat­edly using such an approach comes across as gim­micky, fake, and an annoy­ance for the con­sumer, cre­at­ing a neg­a­tive con­sumer sentiment.

Con­sider this, in the first round of sales on July 25th, 100,000 peo­ple reg­is­tered on Flip­kart, the Indian online retailer, for the Mi3 smart­phone. With two rounds com­pleted, not all of the 100,000 peo­ple who orig­i­nally reg­is­tered have yet been able to acquire an Mi3 hand­set and, accord­ing to the Times of India, Xiaomi has “allowed more peo­ple to reg­is­ter for the device.” This has made mat­ters even more aggra­vat­ing for those who are wait­ing in line.

To rub salt on the prover­bial wound, Xiaomi has now announced: “Note that users who have pre­vi­ously reg­is­tered will have to reg­is­ter again for a chance to pur­chase” for the next “flash sale” that is sched­uled for August 5, 2014.

Xiaomi twitter
Not sur­pris­ingly, con­sumers in India are unhappy. Some con­sumers have tweeted, express­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion about the dif­fi­culty of reg­is­ter­ing in the first place! One irate con­sumer, a tech blog­ger with 11,800 fol­low­ers (twit­ter han­dle @Rajupp) has uploaded a video of his neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence on YouTube, tweet­ing the link! Oth­ers have tweeted their frus­tra­tion!
Xiaomi frustration tweetabout_blank copysamsung copy

Xiaomi appears very happy with the results: Manu Jain, India Oper­a­tions Head, Xiaomi, said, “We are pleas­antly sur­prised and delighted with the over­whelm­ing response we have received from our India fans.”

I am, how­ever, not so sure that Xiaomi will be happy in the long run. As I said ear­lier, there is a fine line between sig­nal­ing you have a hot prod­uct, and annoy­ing con­sumers through what bla­tantly appears to be a delib­er­ate ploy. The neg­a­tive reac­tions are mount­ing, and my take is that this is likely to dam­age the brand rep­u­ta­tion of Xiaomi in the Indian mar­ket­place. It is also likely to dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of Flip­kart, since anger is likely to spillover on to the retail part­ner, and it has in this case!

Flipkart copy

  Jul 30, 2014 | Musings



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