The other week, Australia promoted an online shopping boom, ClickFrenzy, and was ready to launch at 7pm. It was supposed to be the first coordinated online retail event Australia has seen and the organisers did a great job of signing up some of the highest profile Australian retailers like Myer and David Jones, and generated a media buzz. But almost instantly it turned into a PR disaster, with their website crashing under the load of visitors and many retailers who were participating also crashing under the load. Twitter erupted immediately with the hashtag #ClickFail trending as consumers took to social media to vent about their experience.
The E-commerce infrastructure with a fine balance in usability and user experience design, web development, software platforms, integration with third-party systems and hosting infrastructure were all needing to be in tune, to ensure optimum performance of Click Frenzy. The organisers had chosen a platform and approach that has known limitations (the Magento ecommerce platform is well known to have server and infrastructure demands that need to be carefully managed at scale) and the failure to predict and manage the immense interest and demand was a failure of both planning and technology. Lessons have been learnt.
However, for any consumers who have experienced such a failure, the damage to a retailer’s brand could be terminal. Retail is fast evolving into an ‘omnichannel’ experience for shoppers, who now expect to be able to shop online, in store and on mobile devices.
It’s quite obvious now that Australian consumers are ready to buy online, and it is predicted that next year it’s likely a ‘ClickFrenzy’ event will be orchestrated by retailers themselves, using their own media reach and loyalty programs, as opposed to paying a third party.
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