Selling Vaccines- the incidental flash sale model

Have a great product, Invite early registrations, limit the supply, sell quickly & enjoy the hype hence generated. This has been primarily the mantra behind the success of Xiaomi. We at Medyog, were forced to follow the above model (partly), even though we seriously didn’t want to.
With Swine Flu creating panic among citizens all over the country, the idea was to provide vaccines to everyone, but the very limited supply of vaccines and the huge demand meant that procuring the vaccines was going to be a very uphill task. We contacted almost every hospital, diagnostic centre, vaccine centre, pharmaceutical company and their distributing agencies, but the vaccines were just not there. After regular follow-ups for almost 2 weeks, we finally received an in principal nod from a leading chain of diagnostic centres that vaccines were expected to arrive soon, and so finally around 10 days back, we launched the portal to accept registrations for the vaccine
Within a couple of days, we received registrations for over 1200 vaccines, but there were no vaccines available in the market, even the vendor who had promised now seemed unsure of procuring the vaccines in time. We did not stop taking registrations, but informed the users of the delay before asking them to register for the next phase (First preference to be given to Phase 1 registrations). At the same time, we accelerated our efforts to procure the vaccines. Bangalore was not the only city with the supply crisis, we contacted distributors in every major city and the response was the same, ‘Not Available’.
Some of our partners even suggested that we drop the idea and move on. Sure our users would have been disappointed, but they would forgive us, as the supply crunch was pretty well known. But we persisted, I was not ready to go back on our first major promise made to the user, not yet!!
Finally, around 2 days back we received the final commitment from Apollo Cradle, our persistence paid off!! (Due credit to the Apollo team who arranged for the vaccine). The numbers were way below our expectations, but at this point we were just happy that take whatever they offered us. We were promised only 100 vaccines, and in the interest of providing everyone registered under Phase 1 an equal shot at the vaccine, we communicated that Friday (20th March’15) at 2PM is when we release the vaccines, placed a maximum cap of 2 vaccines per registration, and within a few hours of the launch, all the vaccines were sold out.
True, that a lot of our users left empty handed, a few wanted more but had to be content with only a couple of vaccines, but believe me if we could, we would have definitely provided vaccines for everyone. The fact that we delivered on our promise (partly though), has helped cement our trust with the user, a marked increase is seen in registrations for the next phase. We have already received registrations for over 2500 vaccines (All this without spending a dime in promotional expenses)
In the journey, we have simplified a cumbersome process (of being vaccinated), created an interface for users to get all the information and book appointments online, made valuable contacts in the industry but the most satisfying achievement for us is that we were actually able to deliver the vaccines to the users when almost every large player couldn’t. We now want more, we want to provide the vaccines to all the 2500+ registrations (Second batch coming soon). Cheers to the team!!
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