The Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales phenomenon is starting to have an impact online and in brick and mortar stores in Australia.
Five years ago, inspired by US Cyber Monday sales, Click Frenzy was launched in Australia with a wide range of online offers and exclusive offers from participating retailers .
Launched in 2012 in the week after the Melbourne Cup, a famous horse race, Click Frenzy was announced as "The Sale That Arrest a Nation."
But the only thing that stopped was the Click Frenzy website. It collapsed under the assault of visitors and received a massive public reaction.
Today, Click Frenzy handles online sales for a day in May and November. Many brick and mortar retailers in Australia are making massive sales at Black Friday.
However, Australian buyers are now well aware of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday special offers found on US websites.
Many major US retailers deliver directly to Australia as part of their own distribution system, or have arrangements with Borderfree, the global shipping company. But many others are not shipped to outside the United States.
To get around this problem, enthusiastic Australian consumers are using personal shopper services from sites such as MyUS, ShipIto, USA2Me and ShopMate. Consumers complete an online form indicating the website, product name, product link, price, color, size, etc. The personal buyer buys and then ships the products to Australia.
Unfortunately, there is a typical delay of more than 24 hours for the personal buyer to accept the request and email the amount that must be deposited into the escrow account before the item is bought.
This delay means that Australians can not enjoy many sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
A surprising lack of electronic gift cards online also means that we Australians can not easily buy gift cards for, say, a friend in the United States
For example, 10 days ago, I searched Google for high-end restaurants in Orlando, Florida, which offered gift cards. I wanted to give one as a birthday present to a friend from this region.
I was amazed that the websites of the two best restaurants rated by Trip Advisor did not offer gift cards. Another offered them, but he only accepted payments from residents of the United States and Canada.
Then I found Open Table, an online restaurant reservation service. I filled out the gift card information, only to find the payment page was set up only for US residents. So I could not buy one either.
Since my friend likes Macy's – who, by the way, uses the Borderfree program through which I spent hundreds of dollars on Black Friday 2017 – I thought I could easily buy a card – gift on the site of Mary.
An electronic gift card from Macy's had become my only option, with the time that was running out. But a search for gift cards – this is not a tab on Macy's main navigation bar, nor an entry in her footer information – revealed gift cards are currently unavailable for international shipments.
A 25-minute call to Macy's customer service was unsuccessful, the representative telling me that I should buy a physical gift card from Macy's, thus missing my friend's birthday.
She could not explain why I could not order an electronic gift card. And then the call dropped.
I understand headaches related to the physical shipment of something to the outside of the United States. But what about being able to pay something outside of the United States – or even in the case of electronic gift cards via e-mail?
Why not Australia?
I urge retailers to consider that many US residents have friends and family who live outside the United States and want to buy products and services on American websites .
What about the birthday of my American friend, a birthday, a wedding, Christmas or any other gift we, Australians, would like to buy something locally – a special meal at the restaurant or, at the very least, an electronic gift card. our American friends can redeem it for what they want.
As an e-commerce dealer myself, I understand the fears of payment fraud in known high-risk countries.
But is it too hard? Or is the proportion of Australian sales too low to justify?