Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Own Etail Frenzy

On Tuesday it was announced that we here in Australia are going to be blessed with our own form of the US online retail discounting event, 'Cyber Monday'. Next Tuesday from 7pm will see up to 150 retailers slash their online prices - by between 15 and 90 per cent - for 24 hours for Click Frenzy. Dubbed by marketers as “the sale that stops a nation” (ah Spring Racing Carnival references), they’re predicting “Click Frenzy will be the most spectacular event in Australia’s online retail history.”

There are some big names signed on, including Myer, Westfield, Target, Dick Smith, Jeanswest, Dan Murphy’s, Saba, Priceline and Adairs to name but a few. This level of participation indicates that there has finally been a shift in the mindset of mainstream retailers to embrace e-commerce rather than bemoan both local and international online competitors eating into their sales. Harvey Norman’s absence from the list perhaps suggests though, that not quite all doubters have jumped onboard for the digital ride to the future!

These bricks and mortar retailers will truly be going head to head with their online competitors, as pure e-tailers such as Kogan, The Iconic, StyleTread and Booktopia will also be involved in Click Frenzy. Now we’ll be able to assess who’s really offering us the best deals.

Click Frenzy is going to expose just how geared up these retailers are for trading in a store that fits into your iPad – or even more challenging, into your mobile. Has there been the same attention to detail paid to the UX (user experience) of their site as there is to the layout and merchandising of their physical stores? Have they invested in round the clock technical support for the site like they invest in staff training? Have they increased their bandwidth to cope with “the enormous concurrent traffic volumes” projected next week?

There’s been enough talk about the move to online – now’s the time for action. Cyber Monday was introduced in the US back in 2005… a whopping 7 years ago! In that time the rest of the world’s managed to catch on; UK, Germany, Portugal, Canada, even Chile and our neighbours New Zealand.

And if the digital clouds do fall down next Tuesday it will still be a win for e-commerce in this country. The intense focus on the event will drive home to retailers that they need to pay just as much focus to this sales channel as they do to traditional stores. It can only mean a better offering for us consumers at the end of the day.