Covid-19 can't kill zeal of Flipkart and Amazon's staff priming for big sale days

When the hallways are empty, meeting room walls are bare and crowds are no longer milling about in cafeterias at the humongous offices of e-commerce firms Flipkart and Amazon during their biggest annual sale events, surely there is something amiss.

Yet, peer into their data pipes and armies of more than 10,000 employees each are remotely engaged in a flurry of activity, as they expect to hit multi-billion-dollar sales targets in the span of just a few days.

Although the vibe and energy that come with being packed into a war room tracking sales metrics may be missing, employees at both companies said they are looking forward to this year’s festive sales just like earlier, flaky broadband connections notwithstanding.

“The level of excitement that we have for the sale is like a ‘ghar ki shaadi’ (family wedding),” said Nikita Prakash, a senior brand manager at Flipkart.

“The experience of being with the team and doing it in the office is something I am missing, but nevertheless, we’re managing it with technology,” she said.

Prakash had the distinction of working in a team tasked with preparing the creatives ahead of Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale that kicks off on October 16. This included managing video shoots with cricketer Virat Kohli remotely, an experience although hard but extremely rewarding, she said.

Physical celebrations on achieving milestones during the sales period will be missed, but employees at both Flipkart and Amazon said they have, to some extent, filled that gap with a renewed sense of duty to provide consumers and sellers with the best sales experience, especially in these tough times.

“What motivates me is that the programme which I am in right now is about ensuring a lot of local shops make their foray onto digital mediums,” said Sumanth Venkatesan, a manager in the Local Shops on Amazon team. “When you see an SMB (small and medium business) come online and get orders, it’s very satisfying to know that we’re helping businesses succeed at this point of time.”

Although it is hard to replicate the feeling of congratulating a teammate with a high-five, Venkatesan said they were all trying to make the most of technology.

Be it connecting over video calls to making interactions more personal or spending a few minutes before a meeting checking up on colleagues.

This year’s festive season sales will be dominated by Amazon and Flipkart, with a slew of local shops and physical stores setting up their online presence to garner sales amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, market tracker RedSeer Consulting said online sales could almost double to $7 billion during the month-long festive sales period.

Malvika Jethwani, a marketing manager for events at Amazon India, said that while the energy of being with her team is missing this year, her family has in some ways filled that void.

“Our families are so much more involved in what we do this time or are at least getting a glimpse of what we’ve done. They’ve always seen the end output, but this time, from the sidelines they’ve seen what has gone into it,” she said.

Employees said the management at both companies have been extremely empathetic about the stresses of working remotely and managing such large events.

Amazon has set up helplines for employees feeling burnt out or fatigued and is offering meditation and yoga sessions to employees, in order to provide them a quick break from their jobs during the sale.

Both companies have also put in place a system to have backups within each team that is managing a critical component during the sale, while they have also been liberal in granting holidays to their staff in the run up to the sales period.

“As we work remotely this year, we have put robust SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in place, defined critical resources and the pool of resources and talent has been higher compared to previous years,” Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer of Flipkart told ET in a recent interview. “This is to build resilience and a proper backup in case of exigencies…”

It is not all about adjusting to a sub-par experience for Flipkart and Amazon employees this year.

For Deepti Agrawal, a senior engineering manager at Flipkart, working remotely has forced the company to adopt a lot more rigour in the way it prepares its tech systems to handle the massive influx of shoppers during BBD, both on its website as well as app.

“From a tech standpoint, there are different kinds of things we do to prepare for the big sale events. What’s different this year is there’s a lot more rigour, a lot more scenarios have been tested. We’ve made things more automated, so they require a lot less manual intervention,” Agarwal said, adding this is something that Flipkart will likely retain even when employees are back to working from offices.

The meticulous planning put in place for this year’s Great Indian Festival will be a valuable lesson for everyone going forward, Jethwani of Amazon said. “We’ve got very disciplined in doing this, and it’s something we’ll definitely carry on to next year.”

Covid-19 can't kill zeal of Flipkart and Amazon's staff priming for big sale days Covid-19 can't kill zeal of Flipkart and Amazon's staff priming for big sale days Reviewed by TechCO on 10/16/2020 Rating: 5

No comments:

ads 728x90 B
Powered by Blogger.