Click Frenzy hopes third time will be lucky for online shopping event


Click Frenzy hopes third time will be lucky for online shopping event, By Hannah Francis
- 17th November 2014

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Click Frenzy director Grant Arnott at head office in Mount Waverley, Melbourne. Photo: Jesse Marlow/File

Promoters are again promising no glitches during this year's 24-hour online shopping event Click Frenzy, which analysts say could generate $200 million in sales, making it the biggest yet.

Beginning at 7pm (AEDT) on Tuesday, the event, now in its third year, sees local retailers from Dick Smith to Dan Murphy's, and pure-play online retailers like fashion store The Iconic, spruik special deals to kick off the bumper Christmas shopping season.

Click Frenzy co-founder Grant Arnott said about 2 million shoppers were expected to participate in the event, with 1 million already signed up to its database, and more than 300 brands participating. Shoppers visit the Click Frenzy website to access exclusive offers on anything from clothes to electronics and are then redirected to retailers' own websites. Shoppers can also go to retailers' sites directly.

Marketers have promoted this year's Click Frenzy with the theme 'Go Wild'. Photo: Screenshot: clickfrenzy.com.au

"Adobe - they track bill transactions around the world - predict the 24 hours will generate $189 million to $200 million in online sales this year - a big jump from previous years," Mr Arnott said.

If so, it would dwarf last year's event, which Click Frenzy's internal estimates tallied at $30 million.

The inaugural 2012 event was dubbed "Clickfail" after the Click Frenzy website, and many sites from participating retailers, crashed upon launch under the weight of unprecedented demand.

Entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan has irked Click Frenzy organisers by running similar promotions in past years. Photo: Mike Baker

 

Mr Arnott told Fairfax Media the 2014 event would "absolutely" run smoothly, and that it had "bounced back" from its "semi-disastrous start" in 2012.

"We've taken every measure ever since the first event to ensure we've had constant service and there hasn't really been a problem ever since then," Mr Arnott said.

Reports that the website had crashed during last year's event were "definitely not true", he said.

"We were live right throughout the event in 2013," he said, but conceded some retailers' sites had once again "failed around Click Frenzy".

Michelle Hutchison, money expert for comparison website Finder.com.au, said it was the organisers' responsibility to ensure customers had good experiences during the event - particularly if they were not frequent online shoppers, and could be turned off by one bad experience.

"Each year, Click Frenzy has anti-climaxed for many consumers, who were angered by the site's quality to handle the traffic," Ms Hutchison said.

The site was so slow as to be virtually unusable, she said, and in her own experience "all the good items were gone" by the time she finally got access.

However Jay Revels, managing director APAC at Marin Software, which monitors online sites, said it was up to participating retailers to ensure they had the capacity to handle traffic spikes during the event.

"These aren't problems that are new to Australia in terms of website scalability," he said referring to a website owner's need to provide more capacity to deal with demand.

"People can buy infrastructure and scale things very quickly - I don't think it should be a recurring issue provided advertisers are taking the right steps."

Mr Revels said Marin Software data suggested 2014 was going to be the "biggest year ever" for Click Frenzy, which was becoming "Australia's own little Cyber Monday", referring to the similar, but much larger, event in the US, which began in 2005.

"What we've done is looked through various years at the same time and Click Frenzy is definitely helping retailers get greater engagement on their website," Mr Revels said.

"Last year clicks were up 44 per cent versus the prior week ... and then similarly with click-through rate in same period, they were up roughly 28 per cent to the prior week."

Mr Revels said Click Frenzy had the opportunity to become a well-known yearly event for retailers and consumers to look forward to, as Cyber Monday was.

"It's a vehicle to engage your target audiences as an advertiser and it's a branding exercise and opportunity to attract and create loyal customers," he said.

Finder.com.au is hoping to see its own spike in traffic by comparing discounts between retailers to help consumers better navigate the event.

It's not the first time others have sought to piggy-back off the event without participating in an official capacity, with the likes of David Jones and QBD The Bookshop launching sales campaigns around the same time.

Last year Click Frenzy sent online electronics retailer Kogan a cease and desist letter for launching its "Kogan Frenzy" event one day ahead of the official event.

Mr Arnott said there were "still legal matters to be resolved" around Kogan breaching its trademark, and that these remained "with our lawyers".

However a spokesperson for Kogan said the retailer was unaware of any ongoing "legal stoush" with Click Frenzy, and the matter was "not currently with Kogan's lawyers".

Kogan is pushing ahead with its "Kogan Frenzy" promotion on Tuesday at 8am (AEDT), 11 hours ahead of the official Click Frenzy event.

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(The Sydney Morning Herald)