Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Click Frenzy

There's been a lot of industry talk this morning about Australia's answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday - Click Frenzy and the fact the Click Frenzy site went down as soon as the 24 hour sale period launched yesterday.

Sneaking Duck but not Shoes of Prey participated in Click Frenzy and it's been a resounding success for us. Yesterday was a record traffic day for Sneaking Duck and this 24 hour period should also be a record sales period for Sneaking Duck.

One of the big issues it highlights is that Australian online retailers need to improve their technology platforms. Along with the Click Frenzy website, the websites of Myer, Dick Smith, Jeans West, Katies, Quicksilver and Kogan all experienced issues. We host our Sneaking Duck and Shoes of Prey websites on a combination of Google AppEngine and Amazon's servers which are able to scale easily to massive traffic demand, as we experienced with Shoes of Prey a couple of years ago.

The other issue for me as a consumer was that the value of the deals was very mixed. Some retailers like The Iconic (30% off storewide), SurfStitch (25% off storewide) and we at Sneaking Duck ($40 off every order) offered compelling deals whereas some retailers like City Beach and Dell only offered deals on a few brands or products. That's their prerogative but it won't help the event as a whole to be successful.

With so many consumers wanting to participate in the sale, the event has to be a positive one for promoting online retail in Australia, and no doubt it will continue next year, though graphs like this one from the SMH website highlight that consumers are very frustrated with the Click Frenzy experience. Hopefully that's resolved by next year.

You can read Click Frenzy founder Grant Arnott's take on the event from this morning here on Power Retail. Hats off to him for spotting a fantastic opportunity to promote Australian online retail, for helping drive our record traffic and likely our record sales day even if the execution didn't go quite to plan.


  1. Michael I was waiting for you to post about this, but I can't believe what you have written. Are you serious? Is so, this is clearly an extreme case of drinking the cool aid!

    The event was an absolute disaster that made people far more wary of online shopping and pushed back the 'cause' far more than it advanced it.

    I have no skin in this game, but the gall of click frenzy / power retail / whoever it is to trumpet the event's success is incredible. The event left a bunch of pissed off people whose likely only exposure to click frenzy has been very negative.

    The click frenzy people look like fools, and greedy ones at that, who were only interested in one controlling a sale that they weren't even selling anything in and, I assume, clipping the ticket on sales on the way through.

    Now the reports are that they were just interested in collecting data. I wouldn't have believed this yesterday, but given the disdain they that show for the way the event was run, I actually think there could be something in this.

    If Australian online retail - at least large scale online retail, as distinct from smaller operations like SoP / SD - wanted people to take them seriously, and they think that one night of good sales has advanced this goal, they are sorely mistaken.

    Seriously - why bother with this when US online retailers have the same products, same prices, same shipping time and none of the reliability issues?

    This exercise just demonstrates that Australian online retailers don't even know enough to know when they are doing a bad job.

  2. ^ Are you serious? He just said it was a record day for sneaking duck, click frenzy was a massive success site crash or not. It's marketing team had it placed in editorials in major newspapers(not advertisements) and the amount of publicity they received was amazing.
    They were interested in collecting data? lol is there an e-commerce site that does not try and collect information for marketing purposes?
    Thanks for the lols

  3. Anonymous 1, Anonymous 2 is right in that it's a little hard to call something an absolute disaster that leads to a record traffic and sales day for us!!! Granted it was a long way from perfectly executed but they nailed the PR, got a lot of people excited and failed on the tech side.

    It's possible that the longer term damage to online retail in Australia could be higher than the benefits, but I doubt it. The fact we had a record day even with the technical issue with the ClickFrenzy site shows that people were still willing to purchase, so hopefully with time they're forgiving.

    I don't think we can call the ClickFrenzy people greedy. Entrepreneurial is the word I'd used. They spotted an opportunity and worked out a way to monetise it. Good for them! We make a profit when we sell shoes, they make a profit promoting online retail, that's perfectly fine.

    And in his blog post, Grant Arnott goes to a lot of effort to point out that he's not planning to sell the data they've collected. As Anonymous 2 points out, collecting data is something lots of online retailers (including us) do to help us improve our offerings for our customers. So long as that data is treating respectfully, legally and in line with privacy policies then that's fine.

    Good discussion though, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Hi Michael

    I was also waiting to hear your thoughts on Click Frenzy! We launched our online store ( in June this year, but had been working on designing our product for a good couple of years before that. Throughout that time, I have found Grant and Power Retail to be nothing but incredibly supportive of new Australian online businesses - and I felt that Click Frenzy was very much an extension of their efforts to continue that support.

    Yes, they could have managed the technology better, there is no doubt about that. But over all, Click Frenzy was a positive for us. It gave us broader exposure, and brought traffic to our website and social media platforms. Most of the feedback that I had from customers about our deal of 35% off (and $25 voucher offer) was really encouraging and overwhelmingly positive. Certainly way better than I thought it was going to be at 11pm on the 20th when I still couldn't get on to view our own offers on Click Frenzy!

    On balance, I'm pleased to have been a part of it, and i hope that the guys at Click Frenzy can find their way through the fallout to run a more successful event next year.

    Thanks again for an awesome blog