Bargain hunters had high expectations for the first Click Frenzy online shopping campaign when it went live, though their hopes were soon dashed when the service went down.
The high-profile Click Frenzy crash extended to three hours of downtime, which cut into the limited 24 hour time frame of the campaign.
In response to the downtime, Click Frenzy founder and organiser, Grant Arnott, admitted to the number of users going the site being “unprecedented” and significantly than what the organisers had initially forecasted.
For Trend Micro A/NZ strategic products senior manager, Adam Biviano, the incident does not come as a surprise.
“As with any high profile event, there was always the potential for technical problems to occur,” he said.
“Given the scale of the surrounding publicity, these technical problems would be magnified and thus become very visible.”
Biviano adds that the problems were not limited to the main Click Frenzy site, but also extended to partner websites, which also suffered performance degradations or outages due to the sale.
While Biviano says it is not uncommon for websites to crash, even high profile ones, he admits to being surprised by the number of partner sites that did not keep up with demands of the online campaign.
“Perhaps this is reflective of the readiness of the retail industry in general to the move to the online world,” he said.
Just because Click Frenzy is making headlines, Biviano says it is not an isolated issue and has reared its head in the past.
“Websites have crashed in the past because of load, and they will likely do so into the future,” he said.
“It’s just unprecedented within Australia that so many organisations were impacted in such a high profile way.”
Sale of the century?
Even though Click Frenzy was up and running again approximately after 9.30 pm following the addition of capacity, Biviano sees the incident as a “wakeup call” to both the organisers of Click Frenzy and any company who wants to run serious online campaigns.
“While I can’t speak about Click Frenzy themselves, there is an underlying mentality when producing websites that the look and feel comes first, with the quality and efficiency of the underlying infrastructure coming second,” he said.
Biviano adds that any retailer who wants to take online sales seriously should approach their online presence with “the same level of respect they would afford to a shop fit out or any other physical location.”
“Simply having a good looking website online is not good enough,” he said.
“It needs to be there when you really need it.”
According to Biviano, this translates to owners of online shopping websites understanding what the dynamics of an online market place are at play, as well as ensuring that their investment in the online presence, such as availability and security, are appropriate given the intended use.
“An organisation needs to ask itself just how serious it is about getting revenue from online channels, and then ensure it sets itself up to meet this goal,” he said.
The sensationalism surrounding the Click Frenzy downtime already serves as a warning to anyone attempting to do something similar in the future, and Biviano expects everyone can learn from this situation and take away lessons that will prevent a recurrence.
For one, resellers can help their customers with their deployments of online services, such as ensure that not only aesthetic and branding requirements are met, but will also stand up within the intended business context.
Also, if a website that was originally positioned as a way of offering additional customer service finds itself all of a sudden at the centre of a nationwide, high profile campaign, it is likely going to struggle.
“Resellers need to be the trusted advisor when it comes to helping their customers with elements such as applications being used to serve the content and process the orders, the underlying hosting infrastructure, and contingency planning,” Biviano said.