Burger King Aims to Sell Whoppers in India - on eBay

Burger King Aims to Sell Whoppers in India - on eBay

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 11:45

Indian consumers have in recent months shown a penchant for ordering goods like smartphones in short-lived, online sales called “flash sales.” Now Burger King is trying to get them to pre-order its sandwiches — on eBay.
 
In an apparent attempt to tap into the popularity of flash sales — Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi says it has sold more than 500,000 of its low-cost handsets in India using such methods since July — Burger King is allowing customers to pre-book its Whoppers via online marketplace eBay.
 
The world’s second-largest burger chain after McDonald's MCD +0.31% is set to open this month for the first time in the populous country. Cognizant of the religious practices of Hindus and Muslims who comprise the majority of the country’s population, Miami-based Burger King late last week said it would offer chicken, mutton and vegetable versions of its signature Whopper sandwich.
 
 
Consumers can use eBay EBAY +1.08% to pre-book their Whopper sandwiches from Burger King in India. Burger King India/eBay
Through Wednesday, customers can pay a promotional price of 128 rupees ($2.08) with a credit card, debit card, or online bank transfer for a Whopper. (It’s unclear how much of a discount the price represents.) Buyers then receive a voucher via courier that they can redeem at a new Burger King shop in New Delhi’s Select City Walk Mall when it opens on Sunday. Those who order the sandwich also receive a T-shirt.
 
Apart from the discounted price and the shirt, however, it is unclear why consumers would buy the sandwiches online ahead of time, when they could presumably be bought quickly in the restaurant.
 
On Burger King India’s Facebook page, some users were skeptical of the idea. “Pre booking burgers hahaha! Wtf,” wrote one user. Others, however, posted screen shots showing confirmation of their bookings.
 
Burger King declined to comment, referring queries to the eBay listings. An eBay spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
 
The promotion “will definitely catch the attention of consumers but I will be surprised if it translates into a large volume of sales,” said Neha Dharia, a Bangalore, India-based technology analyst at research firm Ovum.
 
“However, I think it’s an interesting campaign and it cleverly uses the e-commerce craze that has taken over the country,” she noted.
 
To be sure, the burger chain has its work cut out for it if it wants to approach Xiaomi’s numbers. As of Tuesday morning, Burger King has sold 260 chicken sandwiches, 154 vegetarian Whoppers, and 199 mutton sandwiches, according to their eBay listing pages.
 
Preetika Rana contributed to this post.