Fair dinkum Chinan retailers can resist Amazon – ‘Frenzy’ founder

Click Frenzy director Grant Arnott at their head office in Mount Waverly, Victoria. Photo by Jesse Marlow. Wednesday 21st November 2012n retailers are closer to being “Amazon ready” but need to focus on customer service to avoid a hammering when the e-commerce giant starts trading here, according to the co-founder of the Click Frenzy online shopping event.

Click Frenzy said on Wednesday it expected to generate over $400 million in sales from more than 500 of participating retailers and brands by the time its 24 hours event ended at 7pm that night – more than double last year’s figure.

Co-founder Grant Arnott said the bumper growth was thanks to more brands taking part, and partnerships with Post and AfterPay. But it also reflected the fact ns were developing more of an appetite for online shopping.

“Online shopping has been top of mind, with all the talk of Amazon coming,” he said. “But what’s really important… is that n shoppers really favour n retail brands.

“We have had a few international retailers participate with Click Frenzy in the past but overwhelmingly n shoppers prefer shopping with n retail brands.”

Amazon, one of the global pioneers of e-commerce, is yet to confirm when it will start trading out of its first n warehouse but industry analysts expect it to open before Christmas.

Mr Arnott said n retailers still had some work to do to become “Amazon ready”, with bricks and mortar retailers needing to offer better options though click-and-collect services and by allowing online items to be returned in stores.

Retailers who failed to leverage this advantage over Amazon, which has no physical stores but is expected to undercut incumbent retailers on price, were the ones which would be “hammered”.

“What we really work with our retail partners on is, ok, you’ll get a huge amount of sales this week but you want to make sure you keep those customers happy to turn them into lifetime customers,” he said.

“On balance I think we’re moving the needle in the right direction to be able to have our local retail brands compete pretty well with Amazon.”

Onlines sales made up about 7.6 per cent of total retail spending in the September quarter and have been growing at about 2 per cent a year, according to NAB research.

That compares to almost 9 per cent of all sales in the United States.

Retail analyst Brian Walker, chief executive of the Retail Doctor, said Click Frenzy’s growth showed ns were coming around to shopping online.

“ns are clearly getting more and more comfortable with the issues that beset them historically: security, trust, fraud,” he said.

Mr Walker said the event was also attractive for retailers, because it was a quick and easy way to offload clearance stock.

Online shopping “festivals” have sprung up as an important date on retailers’ calendars worldwide. “Cyber Monday” last year was the biggest day in American e-commerce history, with $US3.45 billion ($4.55 billion) in sales.

And from China, the impact of Alibaba’s November 11 “Single’s Day” festival is felt by traders around the world, with $33 billion worth of goods being sold during the event on Saturday – up 39 per cent from last year.

was the third-highest selling country overall outside China, behind only Japan and the US, up from fourth-highest seller last year, Alibaba said. The volume of sales from increased 127 per cent.

n vitamins company Swisse was the highest selling imported brand by volume on November 11, while fellow supplements brand Bio Island was in the top five globally.

Alibaba said pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse surpassed last year’s total sales of RMB 100 million ($20 million) in the first seven hours of the day-long event.

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