Ok, we’ve all read about it online: “Click Frenzy crashes on opening”, “Thousands of frustrated online shoppers”, “The fail that stopped a nation”. And here’s how it really happened:
• The one-day super sale Click Frenzy was modelled on the US Cyber Monday sales, which started back in 2005. Click Frenzy is an attempt by Australia’s online retailers to fight back against overseas companies.
• This year’s inaugural Click Frenzy event was organised and promoted by Power Retail, a news and information resource for the online retail industry Down Under.
• Power Retail publicly stated in the lead-up that their systems were prepared for up to one million unique visitors through the 24-hour period.
• More than 550 online retailers registered to participate with shopping deals available across 10 categories. Only about 180 brands took part in the event.
• Click Frenzy opened for business at 7pm AEDT on November 20.
• Click Frenzy’s host website crashed moments after the online event began. UltraServe, which hosted the site, reported millions of queries.
• The websites of many participating retailers also crashed (Myer), or had capped out further customers (Toys R Us).
• Target’s online store stayed open and was visited by nearly 70,000 customers in the first hour.
• Booktopia stayed up and recorded nearly 20,000 visitors soon after 7pm, making $100,000 in sales.
• Shoppers took to Twitter to express their frustration. #ClickFrenzy turned into #ClickFail with some of the prolific Twitterers getting really creative.
• The shoppers were finally able to access the site at around 10pm AEDT.
• The participating retailers, who paid up to $33,000 for ads on Click Frenzy, began discussing refunds.
Jodie Sangster, ADMA CEO, said “this really demonstrates the importance of planning the customer experience and delivering against that expectation. They didn’t properly consider or plan the customer journey – this is marketing 101. It is where all marketing needs to start – with the customer front-and-centre.”
However Power Retail thought it was “an extraordinary day for digital commerce in Australia”, as public interest in Click Frenzy surged well beyond anything they anticipated, when they launched into the market six weeks ago. Click Frenzy’s director Grant Arnott admitted the consumer rush was too much to handle, but said that Click Frenzy 2013 will be “simply amazing.”
Here’s what #ClickFrenzy caused on Twitter (click to enlarge):