November 20, 2018
Last week, Xiaomi entered the UK market with, what hoped would be, one of the most successful sale tactics in their arsenal, a flash sale. However, unlike other market segments, the UK market wasn’t prepared for such a tactic and the company received the inevitable backlash.
With an unprecedented scarcity in marketing tactics, the company has had success in expanding its market share in most developing countries, becoming one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers, beaten only by the three biggest smartphone manufacturers, Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. In fact, this strategy that Xiaomi uses has become so successful that it has been considered one of the best marketing techniques of this current era. That is until the strategy backfired during the Xiaomi’s entry in the UK market.
With one other USP, that being the incredibly low-price of the devices, Xiaomi entered the UK market with its latest series. Two of those devices were launched on a sale of just £1. This deal has, like other markets, attracted thousands of buyers. However, unlike other buyers, the people in the UK did not accept when the deal was closed as soon as the timer went off.
In other words, it has become a common theme for the Xiaomi loyal buyers to accept their failure in buying the flash sale product even after putting their best efforts into the action. However, the buyers in the UK didn’t accept the case.
Many of the people took their frustration to Twitter on how Xiaomi had ‘scammed’ the UK buyers. They pointed out how Xiaomi never revealed how many devices were put on sale, and how it was possible to have all the stock empty even when the people who clicked on the ‘buy’ button in the same moment as the timer went off couldn’t buy it.
One user said, “I had 3 devices set up to access website on different networks and none of them saw the £1 price.” Another Twitter user criticised the company as ‘Xiaoscammi’ stating, “As soon as the button turned green and you clicked on it showed sold out. Shame on you.”
On this, Xaiomi commented that the phones were to be sold on a lottery basis. It clarified, “Those who clicked the button closest to a pre-defined time will be placed into a pool, with ‘winners’ selected randomly.” In fact, the company has mentioned it in its terms and conditions of the sale that only three Mi 8 Lite phones were available during the first flash deal while for others only two units were available. However, it is worth mentioning that the company only did it a day before the actual sale.
Clearly, it is either a case of sheer ignorance or hidden ingenuity. Nonetheless, it is a loose tactic to enter a market like that of the UK that is already tightening its grip on other tech companies through policies like GDPR. It is rare for anyone to actually read the fine print and thereby any important information should be made available to the end-consumers in the consumable areas, or the public will retaliate, similar to the way it did for the growing use of AI.
This could be troublesome for Xioami for multiple reasons, as the revelation of the limited quantity of the products on sale comes under the evaluation of Advertising Standards Authority or ASA. A spokesperson form the agency was quoted by BBC as, “If the ad didn’t include significant conditions and the terms and conditions were changed part way through the promotion, then that could potentially be a problem”
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