Midnight drills in war rooms ahead of big fat sale

By Karan Choudhury , Business Standard, New Delhi | In Digital | September 30, 2016
Teams are working 24/7, reinforcing back-end systems to deal with the surge in the number of orders that would happen during the sale.

Lines have been drawn and 'war rooms' have been set. No, this is not about the surgical strikes that captured the imagination of the nation through the day. Rather, it's a scene from some of the top e-commerce companies readying for the much-awaited festival sales that could see sales of around Rs 2500 crore to Rs 3000 crore.

As midnight drills are on, in full swing, ahead of the fest rolling out this weekend, food and drinks - mostly popular energy drinks, filter coffee, gourmet food - are all on the house. Teams are working 24/7, reinforcing back-end systems to deal with the surge in the number of orders that would happen during the sale, an executive said.

Plenty of high-pitched marketing is around. Snapdeal, for instance, has set up special 'war rooms' which the heads as well as the founders would use to monitor the sales throughout, to indicate the seriousness of the matter. "Our teams work around the clock to provide the best customer experience even with the surge in orders .Teams can congregate in war rooms to collaborate and troubleshoot wherever needed," Saurabh Nigam, vice-president, HR, Snapdeal, said.

At Gurgaon-based e-commerce player, ShopClues, as many as 600 employees are pulling in all-nighters and more would do so when the sales begin. ''We have an all new data-lite user interface as well, to get faster speed on 2G network," said Nitin Agarwal, AVP marketing at ShopClues.

Flipkart is setting up food kiosks where different cuisines would be available round the clock. "We also are big on music. Every floor has different preference, if some prefer hard rock, there are others who are all for peppy Bollywood numbers," said a Flipkart executive. Popular food joints in Flipkart would also be serving employees round the clock.

Snapdeal has set up sleep zones for the tired employees pulling all-night shifts.

Amazon has also made arrangements for residential complexes for employees. Transport and security are among the areas that Amazon has worked on. On the menu would be healthy food to keep them going for hours.

Tata CLiQ, Tata group's e-commerce foray, is preparing for its first festival sale - Festober - starting October 1. Prathyusha Agarwal, head of marketing, said the atmosphere in office was charged and there was genuine excitement. "We are bringing the brand story to the consumer."

The CEOs themselves are in the thick of action and are being seen and heard on social media talking about the upcoming shopping festival, which means a lot to them all. Snapdeal's Kunal Bahl and Flipkart's Binny Bansal are on Twitter, telling their followers about how gung-ho they are about the sales. "The midnight readiness drills have started'', and "everything locked and loaded at @snapdeal warehouses!.... #UnboxDiwaliSale," Bahl said. While Bansal promoted his Billion Day Sales.

What e-marketplaces are doing for employees


• War room set
• Free snacks and drinks
• Sleep zones and sleeping bags for the ones staying in the office


• Theme-based cuisine everyday during the sale
• Cafeteria open round the clock
• Snooze rooms


• Dedicated residential complexes for male and female employees
• Healthy food


• Food kiosks serving international and Indian cuisines
• Music on the floor