Omnichannel blueprint: sales events like Click Frenzy ignore retail brand fundamentals

This time around, from an infrastructure capacity perspective at least, Grant Arnott and the people behind Click Frenzy got it right. While the promotion for the Mother’s Day event was muted compared to the crescendo of excitement bubbling around the inaugural sale, four hours into the event, Click Frenzy reported that it had registered just under a million clicks to participating retailers and approximately 3.5 million pageviews.

Yet consumers were hardly effusive. One tweet posted on nicely sums up consumer response this time aroun: “Click frenzy wasn’t that bad… Spent $50 on loads of mossimo underwear that would usually cost over $130.”

Offers and discounts fail to excite

So while the latest instalment of this cyber sales push has been mercifully free of the problems that plagued and embarrassed the eretailing event last November, the level of enthusiasm from shoppers seems to have been lukewarm at best. While they still signed up in droves, the quality of the offers and deals that were promoted by the participating retailers seems to have left consumers more than a little unimpressed.

Yet I think this is part of the problem that is hardcoded into an event like Click Frenzy. The whole premise is discounting and deals. For retailers that have been discounting more or less round the clock – do they really need an online event that provides more of the same? Smart retailers are forging fully integrated customer experiences across the physical and online environments.

After all, buying stuff online is a daily activity for many millions of Australians. According to eMarketer, around the world, B2C spending on ecommerce surpassed US$1 trillion last year. Over here, in excess of 10 million Australians, or almost half of the country’s population, shopped online in 2012, and spent a sizable US$36.2 billion collectively.

This outlay amounts to an average spend of US$3547 per person, which eMarketer predicts will grow by a further 7.2% this year to more than US$3800 per person.

High level of per capita spending

Indeed, this level of per person spending rates second only to the UK, where average B2C ecommerce sales tallied $3585 per person for 2012. Australians are eager online shoppers where price, availability of brands, quality and convenience are all key factors driving the move online.

While events such as Click Frenzy make the headlines in Australia, over in the UK, the ongoing success of department store John Lewis continues to set new records. Online sales at the much celebrated store have now surpassed the £1 billion mark – more than a year ahead of earlier expectations.

John Lewis sets records

Quoted in the UK’s Telegraph, Mark Lewis, online director of the omnichannel retailer says, “Customers don’t view us as a store or a website, they view us as John Lewis. If you think about the world we are in now, it is more about customers choosing how they want to shop than retailers telling customers where their stores are. It is a different dynamic, it is being led by the customer. Our job is to follow that and stay ahead of it.”

He adds, “Omnichannel means we are there for the customers for how they want to shop, when they want to shop, in a way that suits them. That goes across the whole shopping experience, whether they are researching items, buying items, getting items delivered or collecting them.”

As all channels come together seamlessly for John Lewis, the company stands to benefit immensely from satisfying customer expectations.

The website is not a stand-alone thing

“Now we are at the stage where the website is not a stand-alone thing with a different set of customers,” explains Lewis. “Actually, it is part of the integrated business and we as a business want to fully integrate that and present a very seamless, single presentation to the customer.”

Indeed, looking at the success of John Lewis, Australian retailers now have an omnichannel blueprint and every opportunity to build a successful eCommerce business that’s wholly integrated with into current and future business plans.


Simon van Wyk
BY Simon van Wyk ON 7 May 2013
Founder, HotHouse Interactive. Tweet him @Hot_House