Australian Retailers Learn the Hard Way


The most recent viral craze in Australia perhaps underscores how far Australian retailers have to go before they can truly meet the needs of a global Australian consumer.

In a bid to lure consumers back from overseas shopping sites, many of Australia’s most well known retailers jumped at the chance to take part in a “centralised” one-day online sale extravaganza, known as Click Frenzy, which launched on the evening of November 20.

It quickly became known on Twitter as #clickfail, when, well, it failed. Despite heavy promotion, organisers of the sale evidently did not anticipate the level of traffic that, almost immediately upon launch, would cripple the centralised site as well as a number of sites belonging to the individual retailers involved.

The event amassed more than 28,000 mentions in just two days, with its major spike coinciding with the 7pm launch/crash on November 20th.



The tweets that followed contained everything from jokes to commentary to innovative twists on the marketing frenzy.

One of the most retweeted tweets came from Unicef who used the trending #clickfrenzy hashtag to divert attention away from buying, and toward donating. The tweet received 120 retweets, gathering an estimated 86,000 impressions:



The social media backlash didn’t stop at #clickfail. Consumers derided the sale on the comments sections of major Australian news outlets. And a newly created Facebook page called “Click Frenzy Fail” currently has more than 3,500 fans, as well as a number of humourous takes on some popular memes:



To be fair, not all was bad, as some retailers reported no problems with their Click Frenzy participation, especially after the technical kinks were worked out:



But when you look closer at the messages, it is clear that the failure of Click Frenzy to launch successfully left a bad impression overall. A sentiment analysis on the Click Frenzy campaign shows overwhelmingly negative sentiment:

As an American living in Sydney, I quickly learned that products in Australia can be quite a bit more expensive than they are overseas, especially considering the strong Australian dollar. I commonly stock up on products when I visit home, and I commonly order from sites that ship internationally. Australians are obviously catching onto this as well.

I don’t blame retailers for wanting to stop this trend, and #clickfail serves as a wake up call for retailers to rethink their outreach strategy. I think they have to ask themselves why they put themselves in this position in the first place. Maybe instead of latching onto the newest marketing gimmick, they should take the time to consider what Australians really want – and that is competitive prices for quality goods. Not to mention a positive online experience with brands who understand their needs.