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Mediacorp’s Parminder Singh explains how to combine entertainment and e-commerce

Mediacorp and Lazada’s partnership for National Day saw significant results.

In Singapore, broadcasters and e-commerce platforms have been teaming up to keep customers engaged and excited during the pandemic. What can businesses elsewhere learn from their combination of shopping and showbiz?

This year, Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Lazada honoured Singapore’s National Day by staging a huge sale. Alibaba’s use of holidays to anchor sales events has been well covered, but Lazada innovated this year by roping broadcaster Mediacorp into the action in an e-commerce alliance.

The partnership, for the recent National Day Mega Sale and 9.9 LazMall Big Brands Sale, is part of Mediacorp’s ongoing efforts to drive innovation, create greater value for its customers and generate new revenue streams, Parminder Singh, chief commercial and digital officer at Mediacorp, tells The Drum.

“Both companies share a mutual passion for innovative solutions for shoppers and businesses, so this partnership was a natural fit,” he says.

“By combining Lazada’s ecommerce offerings with Mediacorp’s shoppertainment content, we have also created a new experience for shoppers, while supporting local businesses, products and merchants in strengthening the economic engine of the nation.”

The two companies first worked together for Lazada’s National Day Mega Sale in August. Lazada’s sellers were offered Mediacorp’s assets, including television and radio spots, as part of marketing packages to amplify their engagement with consumers and drive sales.

In the lead-up to the National Day Mega Sale, Mediacorp hosted Lazada’s Guess It game show, where celebrities Kimberly Wang, Gerald Koh and Sonia Chew guided audiences in guessing the correct prices of featured products with hints.

These interactive one-hour shows were produced and filmed by Lazada, and livestreamed on Lazada’s app. There were also daily countdown corner ident embedded on Mediacorp’s channels Channel 5, Channel 8, Suria, Vasantham, CNA, and Channel U to drive anticipation for the sale. L-shaped ads and time of day banners were also displayed on these channels.

Consumers watching TV shows on Mediacorp’s channels during the National Day Mega Sale were promptd to shake their smartphones to instantly receive rewards and ”coins”, redeemable currency in the Lazada app that could be exchanged for vouchers.

Lazada claimed it witnessed 66% more cart activity before the commencement of the National Day Mega Sale campaign, pointing to an increase in pre-sale engagement, with shoppers browsing deals and preparing their carts early to check out once the sale began.

It said over 85,000 early shoppers participated in reducing, or “slashing”, prices for their friends in the lead-up to the National Day Sale from 5 to 7 August. Sales momentum was maintained throughout the three days of the National Day holiday weekend, with total shopping time amounting to 500,000 hours.

These results saw Mediacorp and Lazada extend their partnership again for the 9.9 LazMall Big Brands Sale this month. This time, purchases during the first two hours were nearly double last year’s sale, with total sales across all five days of the 9.9 LazMall Big Brands Sale exceeding the National Day Sale campaign by over 40%.

Beauty, electronics and grocery products took the lead and dominated consumer shopping carts in Singapore. The campaign also registered the highest number of Lazada app downloads by new shoppers during the event of a sale.

“The content we consume has an impact on the products we buy, as seen through strong results from the livestreams from the Lazada National Day Sale. Just like how retail experience is increasingly transitioning to becoming omnichannel with complementary offline and online components, offline media consumption has a strong impact on online behaviour,” explains Singh.

“We observed a clear and direct correlation between advertising on offline mediums such as TV or radio and online search volumes and website visits for Lazada. The e-commerce platform registered a total shopping time amounting to 500,000 hours for the National Day Sale.

“We built upon this playbook in our follow-up partnership. One in four residents in Singapore visited the Lazada app during the five days of the 9.9 LazMall Big Brands Sale.”

Singh says that brand partnerships are more important than ever amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a strategy other brands in Singapore have recently fallen back on, as seen in the alliance between telco Singtel and insurer Great Eastern, who recently explained to The Drum worked together to make insurance an accessible and value-added offering to consumers.

“It’s all about experimenting, innovating and providing greater customer value by joining forces with like-minded partners,” Singh says.

“As e-commerce becomes an important part of an omni-channel retail ecosystem, Mediacorp is well-placed to address the needs of our partners because of our proven proficiency in multi-platform storytelling; our reputation as a brand-safe source of trusted and credible content; and the impact and influence of our personalities and talent.”

Singh believes there’s a strong future for powerful partnerships in local markets. “We can look to China to crystal-ball this trend. As it stands, the livestreaming e-commerce market in China is expected to hit ¥961bn (S$192bn) in 2020 and shows no sign of slowing down. We can expect the market to grow significantly in Singapore as well,” he explains.

“Mediacorp will be looking closely at anticipating and leveraging emerging models, such as the use of augmented and virtual reality in immersive content marketing, that will allow people to discover products, compare prices and shop items, all while watching content.”

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