in Tech

How I end up with two Xiaomi phones

And according to this thread, it seems I’m not alone getting two of these phones with a single account..

As you might already knew, I wasn’t so lucky in the first Xiaomi flash sale for its RedMi 1S phone. The first batch of 5,000 phones being sold in the flash sale of Xiaomi in Indonesia reportedly went sold out in just under 7 minutes! Its partner for the online sale, Lazada Indonesia, experienced technical problems handling the web traffic flooded by eager customers wanting to get their hands on the coveted Xiaomi phones (myself included :D). Its website couldn’t handle the sudden surge of visitors and went down several times, leaving most customers unable to access the website.

After all of this fiasco, Lazada didn’t waste much time to announce the second flash sale for the same phone. The second flash sale took place on 11 September, exactly one week after the first sale had taken place. All of the people who registered for the first sale were automatically registered for the second sale. New customers were also welcome to register themselves to get the right to buy the phone on the specified date and time. As such, I got the second chance to buy RedMi 1S.

Lazada team themselves said that they weren’t expecting such enthusiasm from Indonesian people who wanted to buy the phone. They learned from the first flash sale experience and promised to tweak the system so it could handle the second sale better. They hoped that the incident of people with missing phones from their purchase cart would not happen again.

I, myself, also learned some valuable insights on how to increase my chance to successfully secure one of those phones. I prepared some countermeasures to tackle the problems I had in the first sale, such as:

  • I had trouble connecting to Lazada server during the first flash sale. I suspected the trouble was contributed by the wireless internet connection I used to access during the sale. To avoid the same problem, I used fixed cable with fiber optic connection that was shared with no one except myself. As the result, I got good ping rate of 20 ms with splendid download/upload speed (tested with speedtest).
  • I got stuck in the first sale trying to enter my address in the shopping cart. The dropdown list of local municipalities took forever to load (not to mention failing several times too!). To bypass this, I completed the predetermined address in my Lazada user profile, so I could quickly choose the address instead of fillling the address one by one.
  • I tried to use payment with credit card in the first sale. However, given how unstable Lazada connection was, the verification process could be very risky. My experience included failed verification when the screen prompted me not to hit the refresh button. I panicked fearing that the bank had debited my account when Lazada could not fulfill my purchase. I also read similar experience from fellow customers commenting on Lazada facebook post. To overcome this, I decided to choose COD that had the least risks for customer.

Fast forward to the sale date, I once again logged in into the website 15 minutes before 11 a.m., the time for the sale. I ensured that I had the best connection possible and memorized the refresh shortcut key on my keyboard, as I was sure that I’d abuse that key a lot shortly. I opted for Chrome browser by Google to aid me access the website, as my experience taught me that various browsers had different performance when trying to connect to the server. For this kind of rush, I trust Chrome.

Sure enough, when the clock hit 11 sharp, the “buy” button appeared after I hit the refresh button. The website performance got slower significantly, with loading time getting longer and longer. I had several hiccups to in navigating the purchase process. Quite often I encountered the error page, telling me that the website is under maintenance. I didn’t lose heart and kept hammering the refresh button until my laptop screen displayed the purchase process again.

Finally, I reached the last purchase confirmation on my shopping cart. It took only a split second for me to hit the confirmation button, which then showed that Lazada is in the process of confirming my process. After a while, instead of giving me the confirmation page I was expecting, the server went south once again!! Arrrggghhh.. Not again…. This time I wasn’t panicking since it didn’t affect any of my bank accounts. I hit the refresh button once again, and guess where it brought me? To the product page!! What?? I had to go from the beginning of the purchase process once again?? Oh well.. Seeing no other choice, I had to bear it and patiently navigated the shopping cart again.

My patience paid off. Once again, I arrived at the final confirmation page. I hit the confirmation button, and this time… It worked! I received the confirmation page and a unique order number for my purchase! Yaaaayy! I succeeded in securing one RedMi 1S! The confirmation page informed me that Lazada would ocntact me further for the details of my purchase via e-mail and text on my cellphone. The delivery would take approx 4-10 days, since they had to deliver my phone to different city from where their warehouse was located. I couldn’t wait!

A couple of days passed after I purchased the phone online. As promised, I received notification updates via text to my cellphone. I eagerly waited for the phone to come and it was happy that Lazada had developed notification system to tell their customer the progress of their purchase. I also received updates in evenings, were there staff working for 24 hours?

One night, I realized something odd about the notifications I received. The order number mentioned in the notification text was different from the one I remembered. Was it a mistake? Not long after that, I received another notification message. The content of this message was exactly the same with the previous one, but this time, it mentioned the correct order number. How could this happen? Were there two orders placed in my account for the same phone? I immediately logged into my Lazada customer account to check this out.

My fear came to reality…

Lazada 2 RedMi 1S orders

 

There were indeed two orders of Xiaomi phones placed into my cart. I saw the screen in disbelief because supposedly, each customer could only buy one phone with one account. Alas, these orders had already been shipped from Lazada warehouse, which meant I couldn’t just cancel it. When I checked my e-mail notifications, Lazada did sent notification about double orders. If I wanted to return the second phone, I had to contact their customer service after I received the second phone and arrange some way on how my money would be refunded.. Sounds like a hassle to me..

Indeed, I was delivered two of the identical phones by Lazada three days after I purchased online. The phones came separately by two different courier. Thus, I ended up with two phones when I was only trying to get one. I was rather perplexed that I got to have two of the coveted phones due to Lazada system error.

I do appreciate Lazada, though. Aside from their website performance during peak traffic, they have established respectable service for their online store. I received regular updates about my purchase, the packaging of its products was good, they offer various payment and refund methods, they have splendid return policy should the goods that their customers ordered are defective or don’t match the description, and they deliver the goods faster than what they promised (specifically from my case above, that is).

On the other side, I find that Lazada system has to improve to handle such flash sale like this better. I read that unlike in the first sale, your purchase is secured when the goods have successfully included in the shopping cart. This is to prevent the complaints from the first sale where customers lost their purchased goods although they have secured them into their cart. I also found my time navigating the website to be smoother than from the first time experience. True that there were various factors affecting my connection, but I suspect that the improvements made by Lazada team also contributed to the better performance.

As on how to make further improvements, I really like how AirAsia or Sistic Singapore handle the sudden surge of web access to their website when I participated in similar sales on their website. They implemented this “queueing system” to regulate the flow of visitors. The system controls each visitors to wait until another visitor has checked out their purchase, and then let them access the purchase with ease while having the other customers to wait for their turn. I think this is a viable alternative on how Lazada can improve their service to the customers. This is to ensure that people have a pleasant experience shopping at Lazada and no customer got more than what they are entitled to (such as myself in this case ˆ_ˆ’)

Lazada also didn’t waste any time to announce the third flash sale for the same phone, which takes place exactly one week after the second sale. I suspect Xiaomi will follow the same pattern they use in another country, such as Singapore, where they regularly open sales once a week for its RedMi 1S. They don’t tell anything about their future plans, though. This is purely my personal opinion. Expect to have third, fourth, and so on sales in the future, guys!

And if you are curious on what happened to the second phone I got. I simply sold it to my friend at its face value without profiting from it. I just want my money back 😀