Coldplay tracks, yoga to help e-tail staff battle sales war stress

A look inside the war room of Paytm Mall. Amit Sinha, COO, Paytm Mall, with his team. Photo: Paytm
From extensive checks and optimising their backroom technology to having masseuse on call for employees, midnight jam sessions, and buffet counters with global cuisines, e-commerce giants Amazon India, Flipkart and Paytm Mall are stocking up war rooms hours before they head for festive sales.

The e-commerce players, who would start their festive season sales from Wednesday, are not only preparing their teams for the coming marathon but also ensuring that employees have all the comforts to wade through the next couple of days.

For the past 48 hours, Amit Sinha, chief operating officer of Paytm Mall, who is steering his team through its first major festive season sale, has been in touch with the company headquarters in Delhi-NCR. 

Up against rivals such as Amazon and Flipkart, Sinha has done a series of pretesting of systems to ensure that Paytm Mall’s “Mera Cashback Sale” goes smoothly. “This is our first ever festive season. We had started preparations months ago and a lot of pre-event testing has happened to ensure success,” he said. 

To keep the team going for the next four days, Sinha is relying on “good food” and Coldplay tracks, his boss Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s favourite band. 

Amazon India has brought global muscle into its multiple war rooms to win the sales face-off. “We have experience from previous sales and we lean on global learnings from events such as Black Friday. We have scaled up our servers to perfectly handle the unprecedented demand that we expect,” said Kishore Thota, director, customer experience and consumer marketing, Amazon India.

The company has set up war rooms for core groups of 10 leaders each across functions and everything is being coordinated by a central events team for the Great Indian Festival. “We have multiple war rooms being set up across various businesses, functions and categories, in addition to a central event war room. All war rooms will be active from midnight as we get ready for our Prime-only sale hours,” Thota added. 

The company has taken up a number of service apartments for its employees to rest in between long shifts. “We have also organised midnight jam sessions,” the company said.

However, it is Amazon’s biggest competitor in India, Flipkart, which has gone the extra mile for its employees. “Big Billion Days is the biggest event at Flipkart. To ensure that employees’ morale is high, we have organised stress buster yoga sessions at their desks, massages, midnight floor games, arcade games and cafeteria jam sessions for employees to unwind and relax,” Smrithi Ravichandran, senior director, business development at Flipkart.  

“There are 24x7 food and snack stalls for employees,” she said.

“Employees will have sleeping facilities with a dedicated noise-free sleeping zone and special eye masks with cooling gels for relaxation,” she added. 

The company has scaled up software and hardware mechanism to deal with the spike in traffic during the Big Billion Days' sale. It has also put mechanisms in place to “gracefully” manage the traffic if the portal gets beyond what they can handle.

Preparing for sales marathon
Scenes from the war rooms of Amazon India, Flipkart and Paytm Mall 
  • Masseuses on call for employees
  • Midnight jam sessions
  • Buffet counters with cuisines from all over the world


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