Catch Of The Day boss Gabby Leibovich: Click Frenzy collapse was positive for the industry

Gabby Leibovich: “They didn’t have any great deals.”

Catch Of The Day founder Gabby Leibovich has said that rival online retail firm Click Frenzy “was not ready” for the volume of people who surged on to the site last night, causing it to crash.

Despite thousands of Australians missing out on the mega-sale – which offered up to 90% savings on products from 180 retailers – Leibovich said the collapse was “positive” for the retail industry, because it showed strong consumer demand.

He told Mumbrella: “First, I’d like to credit Click Frenzy for an amazing PR campaign. Everyone got behind it. But in the end the volumes of traffic were beyond their control. They just weren’t ready for it.”

Catch Of The Day sites, which include daily deals platform Scoopon, regularly crash, Leibovich said – “which is always positive”.

“We are coming up to our seventh Christmas and our sites have crashed many times in the past – and it keeps surprising us. But it means people have been talking about your deals and there’s strong demand – which is always positive.”

Leibovich added that Click Frenzy had failed on two counts yesterday. “Unfortunately, the service was not there. And frankly, they didn’t have any great deals,” he said.


  1. Hezi
    21 Nov 12
    11:11 am

  2. Gabby makes a valid point, however, the sale isn’t over yet and the site appears to be working at the moment. The issue many will have is that the products on the sites were of limited appeal and the discounts not that great.

  3. Bem
    21 Nov 12
    11:50 am

  4. While there’s no doubt that this failed experiment demonstrates the demand for online purchasing in Australia, I think Leibovich pinpoints the major problem with this sale, and has inadvertently shown the issue with Australian retailers overall- they’re still not taking online seriously. A quick scan on the Facebook page shows that many people are underwhelmed by the lack of products on offer, the minimal discounts provided or the fact many products are actually cheaper in store or on overseas online sites. The amazing thing about the American sales is that nearly everything is discounted massively, not just the excess stock that needs to be sold. 
    For many people this will just seal their commitment to overseas sites. I imagine many people will be blaming Click Frenzy, as they should, but had the site actually worked I imagine most people would still be complaining to the retailers for the crap they were dishing out.

  5. Technojames
    21 Nov 12
    11:57 am

  6. If Click Frenzy isn’t a wake up call to Australian bricks and mortar retail then they are truly doomed. I get that margins in online are not as lucrative as the current business model. But Gerry, DJs Board of Directors etc etc look at the state of retail businesses in music and books. Effectively dead or dying. That is your future.

    Triple A brands will go independent in retail. They won’t need department stores because their main revenue source will be their own online store. So retail becomes about experience and customer service. They will be happy to recruit you into their online sales channel as margin erosion will be inverted. It will be MORE profitable to sell to you online.

    Gabby is right. Click Frenzy has shown demand even though it has been an utter disaster for participants from a PR perspective.

    Department stores, it is time to diversify your investments. Leverage your cash cows and build brands.

    Alternatively, I hear mining is a lucrative business and more in line with your perceptions of retail being about infrastructure.

  7. Jamie
    21 Nov 12
    12:20 pm

  8. I agree with Bem, I think the success of this event shows that Australians are clearly looking and are increasingly ready to shop online for better deals.

    However, I really feel that this event was a missed opportunity for everyone involved. It is as has been said, a dissappointment that the retailers involved didn’t take the sale more seriously – it was an opportunity for, at least once a year, Australian retailers to compete globally with their prices.

    Most of the prices I witnessed (in the Tech section because that is my interest) – were still grossly inflated from what I can not only get online from overseas, but more depressingly, what I can also get online from smaller independent – online only – retailers. ( for example still beats all the prices I saw in the Technology section on a daily – no sale – basis)..

    It is further evidence of how far behind Australian retaillers are in the online market – and how many approached this online sale opportunity as they would any other sales event, without really grasping the potential they could have embraced.

    In the end, it does them no favours. Consumers will think “if this is all they can offer in a one-time, 24 hour only sale – why would I ever bother to shop online with them normally” – and it will reinforce behaviour to buy from international and independent businesses.

  9. Mr Corbett
    21 Nov 12
    12:48 pm

  10. I could not disagree more with you Gabby.
    This morning I found myself embarrassed to be an Aussie thanks to the likes of David Jones and the Click Frenzy mob (is mob ever a truer description?).
    To fail so epically, and publicly, in the face of a great online opportunity is not just a missed retail chance. It is a missed chance to drive online behaviour and, perhaps most importantly, a missed opportunity to demonstrate that Australian retailers are evolving in the digital space and starting to understand what needs to be done to compete.

    Instead it was pathetic.

    Pathetic to be so poorly scenario planned and so amateurish in infrastructure. It makes us a laughing stock (I have had two emails from O/S teasing us for being ‘down under and backward’.

    It has been clear to any person of reasonable intellect that it is not we the consumer that hold Australia’s digital progress back. I truly believe that the Australian consumer is as digitally advanced as our UK / US / European counterparts.
    It is the failure of the retailers, and to an extent the telcos, to match our understanding, appreciation and appetite for digital. That is holds us back and holds us up for all to see as digital dunces.

  11. PR Pro
    21 Nov 12
    12:50 pm

  12. Fantastic PR effort let down by piss-poor execution by the IT geeks. And it really is a major stretch to claim it as “positive” for the industry. Today’s media and online posts have been scathing. Gotta feel sorry for the retailers.

  13. Anonymous
    21 Nov 12
    1:04 pm

  14. You have got to be joking. I guess it’s always interesting to put a positive spin on a failure, however I believe that consumer confidence in this sort of thing has been reduced to rubble in a few short hours. With the impressive amount of PR generated that Gabby talks of, there is now a huge amount of backlash & let down and I don’t think consumers will forgive or be anywhere near as interested in such fads down the line.

  15. Anonymous
    21 Nov 12
    1:06 pm

  16. …and of course Hezi would make those observations! Where’s the COTD link in the comment??

  17. Online shopper
    21 Nov 12
    1:10 pm

  18. I find the experience of online shopping better than that at a department store.

    Online: I can narrow down my search to e.g. 36 waste jeans, long legged, slim fit, black = results of purely that. I can then narrow it down by brand, or even price. i find exactly what I am looking for, quickly. I make a purchase.

    At the department store: Took me ages to get here, parking was a nightmare… Walk in, get lost, eventually find the floor I need. Look at a set of jeans in one fashion brands section (cant find the right leg size) go to another brands section, find the leg size, but not the waste size. Look for an assistant, can’t find one – leave.

    I know and trust Diesel Jeans – I can just go to their site and buy them – easy!

    Do we need middle men retailers anymore? Lets face it, most large middle men retailers have boards or owners who put one thing ahead of everything else = profit.

    The digital revolution is slowly killing off greedy third parties – good riddance!

  19. Mark W
    21 Nov 12
    1:44 pm

  20. “showed strong consumer demand” of course it did…with up to 90% off it would!!!
    What a dick of a comment.
    In the mean time lets keep saving money and going on line, while people lose their jobs… anyone ever think that maybe it costs more in a shop as its keeping someone in a job?

  21. Chris
    21 Nov 12
    1:47 pm

  22. Load balancing is a phrase that both Click Frenzy and the brands which supported it need to understand. Although it shows how many people rushed online to check out the sales, the negative PR may outweigh the overall PR since nobody managed to access the sites…

    Better preparation next time guys and make sure your web development business is under the pump today!!!

  23. The Internetz
    21 Nov 12
    1:59 pm

  24. ”Unfortunately, the service was not there. And frankly, they didn’t have any great deals,” he said.

    Yes he keeps saying the events of last night were “positive”.

    Go figure.

  25. nell_schofield
    21 Nov 12
    2:16 pm

  26. make no mistake, this remark to Mumbrella was just a PR stunt to give him a platform to shit on Clickfrenzy, which is a huge threat to the dodgy-deal-a-day businesses like his

    it’s all in the last line, people

  27. Paul Cross
    21 Nov 12
    2:27 pm

  28. I agree with Gaby that it shows that Aussie shoppers will buy online locally when given the inspiration and opportunity. Our customers who were involved in Click Frenzy reported near record sales, many first-time shoppers and sales continuing all through the night – so a positive experience for them. It’s hard to predict volumes and ensure you have the infrastructure in place, so well done to Click Frenzy for getting out there. I’m sure they will learn and evolve this into a new date on the retail marketing calendar.

  29. Anonymous
    21 Nov 12
    3:45 pm

  30. yeah totally agree Neil, it’s a shame that Mumbrella go down this tabloid route of free advertising.

  31. Online shopper
    21 Nov 12
    3:55 pm

  32. The fossil crew retailers in Australia went through traditional channels to whip up a PR storm about “click frenzy” and couldn’t execute, because they evidently do not understand the online retail space.

    To be honest, I don’t think they understood the bricks and mortar space, however us Aussies didn’t have a choice, there was no competition and back when the dollar was low / there was no interweb we didn’t look overseas. Gerry, Myer, DJ and the others were miking us for all it was worth, filling their bags full of loot.

    This has came to an end.

    Have a look at a Facebook page where other peoples comments are positive ones:

    This is an example of a highly successful online business. The people at the helm of this business, whilst they do want to make a buck, they also want to please the customer with bells on. Here in Australia the fossil crew still want to fleece consumers and until they stop wishing to do so, they will continue to fall over.

    Power to the people – choice has never been so good.

  33. Annabelle Drumm
    21 Nov 12
    7:01 pm

  34. Let’s not forget All Publicity is Good Publicity. Yes there was a fail for 3 hours out of 24 hours but next year every one will know who they are. All they have to say is they’ve got the techie stuff sorted and they’ll do even better. The PR was amazing.

    I had a vendor page but because I wasn’t a “Featured” Vendor (= I didn’t pay $30,000) you wouldn’t know I had my course buried down there amongst the hair dryers and shavers. It looked as though the Health section only had 5 vendors but there was actually more choice than it appeared.

    The best traffic I got out of it was actually before 7pm when all vendors were displayed equally in a grid.

    I’ll continue to watch sales over the next week to see if it was worth my money.

  35. Jus Sayen
    21 Nov 12
    7:04 pm

  36. Let’s flip this spin on its head.

    An online site melts down on day one and fails to deliver yet it is “a positive for the industry”.

    Can you imagine the hue and cry from the digerati if a bricks and mortar store opened its doors, and for unforseen reasons couldn’t let all the shoppers in the door, or ran out of stock, or their credit card system or cash registers didn’t work. I’m sure the term ‘epic fail’ would be used many times.

    No matter which way you look at this, the fact they could get their shit together with their website and servers is in no way a positive for the industry (the ‘demand’ was insanely deep price discounting), and I suggest the appropriate logos be posted on Wikipedia under the entry Epic Fail as that is what they are.

  37. Jus Sayen
    21 Nov 12
    7:05 pm

  38. *** couldn’t ***

  39. joke
    21 Nov 12
    9:45 pm

  40. What amuses me most is that the RETAILERS and click frenzy organisers thought that they could beat international competition with the half cooked deals they had – what a joke.

  41. Peter Bray
    22 Nov 12
    9:04 am

  42. A new shopping centre is designed. But when it is built, someone forgets to add in some doors. At launch, some retailers manage to punch a few holes in the building, and a few customers follow and purchase some stuff. However most people are left raging outside.

    “But look,” say the owners of the building, “all these people want to get into our shopping centre, look at the demand, what a success!.”

    You are kidding me.

  43. DaveReporter
    22 Nov 12
    12:34 pm

  44. This is not PR – this is spin at it’s worst or Gabby lives in some parallel universe where failure is considered success.

    Retail 101
    1) Provide goods & services people want X FAIL
    2) Make sure goods & services are available X FAIL
    3) Provide sufficient access to goods and services X FAIL
    4) If advertising a sale offer real discounts X FAIL

    Thank goodness I registered a fake email address to click onto a fake website with fake bargains.

    I just hope the businesses suckered into the scam are paying him with fake cheques or a fake credit card.

    The more interesting story would be
    1) how he suckered businesses into the scam
    2) why the media swallowed they hype completely, running it as news

  45. John Alex
    24 Nov 12
    2:58 am

  46. DaveReporter: ‘this is spin at it’s worst or Gabby lives in some parallel universe where failure is considered success.”

    Gabby’s comments are based on his own experience and success. His comments could not be more true. I am almost certain you will be logging on next year even if its just to see if it “fails” again.

    We all learn from mistakes. No doubt next year we will see better deals, more capacity and better service.

    The businesses “suckered into the scam” experienced more traffic in a few hours than they usually do in weeks and in most cases crashed because of this.

    I agree the deals were not up to most peoples expectation, but that just means they will be better next time.

  47. Johnno
    24 Nov 12
    1:31 pm

  48. So if the goal was ‘enogh traffic to crash the site’ – success.

    If the goal was sales (leaving to one side the sales vs. incremental sales argument – then it is too early to gauge success.

    If the goal was profit (and shouldn’t that be everyone’s over-arching goal) – then at the discount levels being talked about it is extremely hard to see how any of the merchandisers turned a profit.

    Given the above, we should probably pencil in a success for the website but a fail as a business model. If any brands that participated are willing to share their financials that would be fabulous.