ClickFrenzy was, and will remain a great concept for Australian retailers. Yes, the organisers should have been better prepared to handle the traffic spike on their portal, but at the end of the day, the real losers were the retailers that website crashes.
Unfortunately, most retail executives won’t understand the magnitude of the lost opportunity. Publicly, they’re focusing on the increased sales they made when their sites WERE up (click frenzy a big success , We’re happy ), rather than focusing on the sales they DIDN’T make, or the customers that they may have lost when their sites were down.
Retailers that fail to address scalability issues on their websites are simply disrespecting their customers. They seem to assume that web shoppers are either used to this sort of disappointment, or are just bargain hunting anyway, and that they’ll just come back another time.
Sure, there are plenty of bargain hunters out there, but just because consumers are looking for value, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in end-to-end service, or aren’t looking for trusted brands. The connected consumer is not a “channel” shopper – they’re a “brand” shopper. If they get annoyed with a particular retailers online store, it impacts the ENTIRE brand experience, and then if they choose to visit to another site and receive a good experience, they might just stick with that other brand for the longer term.
Despite what some retailers think ( ‘Online only retailers dominance will end‘ ), just because they have bricks and mortar stores doesn’t mean customers will ultimately prefer them over the online only brands. Sorry guys, if you continually fail to deliver, then your entire brand will suffer.
The lack of seriousness for the website channel with many retailers is essentially due to a lack of investment, as Gavin Heaton describes in How ClickFrenzy Became a ClickFizzer. And the irony of all this is that few of the retailers who had site problems during clickfrenzy will do anything about it. I know many retailers today are fully aware that their website can’t handle peaks of traffic – their sites come down whenever they do an email campaign, but they choose to throttle their campaigns rather than invest in their website infrastructure.
Every ecommerce manager that lost their site during ClickFrenzy should be seeking funds to invest in their infrastructure for the new year. The numbers are only going to get bigger. Calculate some decent projections, and then load test your site (If you want some help, talk to us). Then get your executive management to either fund your initiatives, or to sign off that they understand the potential lost opportunity – not just in one-off sales, but the potential longer term brand damage – if they don’t start caring for their customers.