Last year's Click Frenzy online sale in Australia, modeled after the hugely successful Black Friday sale in the US, attracted a huge amount of media attention for all the wrong reasons. Within minutes of the sale going live on November 20 last year, the website buckled under the strain of unanticipated traffic volumes. A number of consumers, excited at the prospect of grabbing a great online bargain, were left empty handed and disappointed. The media's reaction was swift, and merciless.
Fast-forward six months and the latest Click Frenzy sale was completed without any technical issues at all. Click Frenzy needed an industry leading solution, and as such enlisted Akamai.
Following their initial sale and the subsequent technical issues they encountered, Click Frenzy wanted to understand how they could handle the sudden bursts in traffic volumes that characterizes their online business model. For Click Frenzy, it was absolutely imperative that their next big sale performed seamlessly to restore consumer and retailer confidence. Further technical issues had to be avoided at all costs.
We approached Click Frenzy and explained how Akamai's intelligent platform - specifically Akamai's AQUA & KONA solutions - enables traffic to be securely offloaded to distributed computing resources, thereby alleviating the burden on the their data centre. This model allows businesses, such as Click Frenzy, to manage traffic spikes that would be unheard of for most conventional online retailers.
Following Click Frenzy's 24-hour sale last month, the Akamai platform managed 169 million requests, with a peak of 29,722 requests per second. Total traffic volume exceeded 3TB. This article, which features an interview I did following the sale, provides a great overview of some of the positive outcomes Click Frenzy has enjoyed since its rollout of the Akamai intelligent platform.
Although the Click Frenzy site itself performed flawlessly, some technical issues were still evident on the part of some retailers involved in the promotion since their websites - not utilizing Akamai's platform - were unable to cope with the traffic being directed at them by Click Frenzy.
For retailers, having too many customers can be a nice problem to have, but customers can be unforgiving if they are running into the same issues time and again. This is particularly true for online where a customer can 'enter' another store with a simple click of a mouse.
A robust technology platform that enables customers to access the information they need and purchase in an efficient manner is absolutely essential in today's super-competitive online retail environment. And retailers don't want to be bogged down by technology. They just want it to work, so they can focus on their core business and what they know best - retailing. For our friends at Click Frenzy, that's exactly what they're doing now and we look forward to many more successful online 'frenzies', and maybe picking up a bargain or two ourselves along the way.
Ian Teague is a regional sales manager at Akamai.