In 1991, Singles’ Day was created as something of an ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ and an opportunity for Chinese singletons to celebrate their singledom. But, it wasn’t until 2009 that Chinese retailers began to offer Singles’ Day sales as part of the occasion, and not until 2011 that it became a phenomenon – with the date of 11/11/11 dubbed “Singles’ Day of the Century”, due to the obvious numerical representations.
As its China’s biggest shopping day of the year – Alibaba Group alone generated $25.3 billion in sales in 2017 – it should be a key date for western online retailers. A 536% increase of online visitors to UK sites on Singles’ Day 2017 compared to a normal Saturday shows the scale of this importance.
To make sure you’re prepared for this key event, here are some vital areas you need to consider.
Prepare Your Promotions
Dedicating an area on your website for specific promotions will help with those all-important conversions. This will also help you avoid any unwanted crossover with normal trading that could potentially damage sales from both customer bases.
Singles’ Day clashes with both Armistice Day in the UK and Veterans Day in the US. With both events holding enormous cultural significance, it may seem distasteful to western visitors to use it as a promotional day to boost sales.
To soften this potential clash in culture, you could stretch promotions to last over the weekend. It allows you to mute some of the marketing noise on the 11th, while expanding the time for you to maximise sales potential.
That’s fear of missing out – something that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have used to great effect. Marketing methods that illustrate the limited offer, like putting a countdown clock on a deal, can help boost short-term sales.
Cater for the New Market
Understanding the Chinese habits of online shopping is crucial to Single’s Day success. Here are a few insights to help with your preparations:
Rise and shine
Last year the peak in visitors to UK sites was at 5am GMT. This may require you get some additional willing staff to handle this early this peak in sales – and be sure to give yourself adequate time to train them.
With 59% of Chinese visitors using mobile to visit UK sites on Singles’ Day 2017, neglecting to optimise your storefront for this could see you losing out on a huge portion of potential revenue.
It may be tempting to upsell to people who have bought from you already, but the data from 2017 shows that this isn’t necessarily the best route to take. With the average value of purchases only increasing by 3% in 2017 from 2016, the return from upselling doesn’t always appear to justify the investment.
Instead, marketing to new customers with offers like first purchase discounts will see you make the most from the 35% boost in new visitors over a normal Saturday.
Prepare for Next Year
Singles’ Day has no signs of slowing down in future years, so you should also take this opportunity to learn from the 2018 event. With a 40% increase in sales from 2016 to 2017, ignoring this annual growth means losing ground to your competitors.
Collate your data
By tracking exactly what works and what doesn’t across the Singles’ Day sales period, you’ll be able to inform your strategy for next year. This could be giving greater focus to either desktop or mobile, understanding what promotions did or didn’t work or learning how visitors navigate through your website. With new customers come new habits, so take the time to get familiar with them through your analytics.
Stay in touch
Preparing for next year well in advance helps give you an advantage over your competitors. If you’re new to this market, understanding what items are being browsed but not bought can provide ideas for promotions next time around, and this analysis will give you a deeper understanding of your Chinese customer base.
Prepare for the Parcel Boom
With so many potential orders coming in from overseas, preparing to fulfil those orders is essential to matching customer expectations. Ensuring reliable, efficient and personalised delivery to China means you can secure a foothold among shoppers before more UK retailers catch on to this trend.
You may already offer international delivery to the Chinese market, but you may not have done so on this scale. Making sure you can deliver this influx of parcel orders reliably and in good time requires strong domestic facilities and a network of trusted final mile international delivery partners.
At P2P we work with a number of international delivery partners to provide tracked, untracked and express delivery options. So, no matter your delivery aims, we have a service suited to achieving them.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can offer a helping hand for this massive sales event, get in touch.