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The Click Frenzy crash: The lessons for start-ups

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Start-up retailers have been urged not to overlook the importance of stress-testing sites, following the crash of the much-hyped Click Frenzy online discount promotion.

 

Click Frenzy, Australia’s first online mega sale, claimed to be “the sale that stops the nation”.

 

The website promised discounts of up to 90% for 24 hours from more than 150 retailers. More than one million shoppers were expected to visit the site.

 

But when the website opened at 7pm last night, thousands of shoppers were unable to access it. Almost four hours later, the website could only offer limited access.

 

Gabby Leibovich, co-founder of online retailer Catch of the Day, says the Click Frenzy failure should serve as a lesson for retailers with regard to major online shopping events.

 

“The strong response by retailers to get on board and take part in Click Frenzy, or run their own online shopping events, shows that they know they need to address shoppers’ appetite for deals or miss the boat,” Leibovich says.

 

“Whether they can sustain lower price points – or have the technical capabilities to withstand high demand as we saw [yesterday] with Click Frenzy’s site going down – is another matter.”

 

Leibovich says retailers need to invest in best-of-breed technology platforms, whether that be online, mobile or “wherever new technologies take us”.

 

“All our sites go through rigourous stress-testing prior to launch and before any major shopping event,” he says.

 

“Investing in technology and ensuring we have in place best-in-class systems, to ensure uptime and reduce the incidences and duration of outages during peak periods, is an absolute priority.”

 

Catch of the Day is the main breadwinner of The Catch Group, which runs six deal sites including Mumgo, GroceryRun, Vinomofo, Scoopon and Eatnow.

 

Leibovich points out all these sites are built on the daily deal model, which means heavily-discounted, time-sensitive offers are featured daily.

 

“Our group is predominately built around daily flash sale events… Unlike other online shopping sites, our sites receive massive spikes in traffic rather than a consistent flow,” he says.

 

“As such, we are very well equipped to manage major sales events.”

 

Bridget Speed, co-founder of online package forwarding service Qannu, says she feels sorry for the retailers who participated in Click Frenzy.

 

“It’s one of those technical things you can’t foresee,” Speed says.

 

Qannu allows consumers to shop from the United States without worrying about international delivery and US credit card limitations.

 

It can consolidate their shopping into one package, allowing them to shop from multiple websites but only pay for one international delivery charge.

 

Qannu is preparing for Black Friday – the US equivalent of Click Frenzy – which kicks off this Friday.

 

While Speed doesn’t discount the importance of technical backup ahead of a major shopping event, she believes support staff are just as important.

 

“It’s a bit of both. You’ve got to take into account there are going to be challenges and the only way you can resolve those challenges is by people power,” she says.

 

She also believes the offers themselves need to be outstanding.

 

“The technical side [of Click Frenzy] was very frustrating and people were quite disillusioned with that. But if it was backed up with really hot offers… then I think they could have redeemed themselves a bit,” she says.

 

“Perhaps the offers didn’t make it worthwhile.”

 

Leibovich agrees with Speed, saying the deals “really flopped” on the bargain side.

 

“Nothing beats a great deal,” he says.