Singles’ Day 2018: Is your brand ready for the largest online sale of the year?

China has the highest activity during Singles’ Day, but the shopping phenomenon is growing in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand.

Singles' Day has taken the Asia Pacific markets by storm, and e-commerce giants like JD, Lazada and even fashion kingpin Zalora are all partaking, making every year bigger than the last. During Singles’ Day 2017, Chinese shoppers bought more products in the first 24 hours compared to the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making Singles' Day the largest shopping event of the year and a vast opportunity for brands and marketers across APAC.

China has the highest activity during Singles’ Day, but the shopping phenomenon is growing in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. According to the Facebook 2017 Holiday Study by Ipsos Marketing, Hong Kong is the first market where Singles’ Day surpassed all other shopping holidays, with 38% of people saying they shopped on that day compared to 22% on Black Friday and 16% on Cyber Monday.

Leveraging Singles’ Day for your brand

Marketers can tap into the Singles’ Day shopping phenomenon by using consumer shopping habits and insights to connect with their customers and gain increased sales by offering massive deals and discounts for a limited period of time, driving high spikes of traffic and transactions.

1) Plan your product offerings

Customers are used to getting exclusive offers during Singles’ Day, for example, 50% off on selected products in a two hour time window. It is not recommended that all products are discounted heavily for the entire day, therefore marketers should consider the product offerings and target market to define the specific product offer(s) for Singles’ Day. The idea is to drive traffic via the most attractive offers, and let customers browse the website for other offers they might find interesting.

As an example, an online insurance client partnered with Lion & Lion for a digital product campaign during Singles’ Day in 2016 where the client provided customers with steep discounts on general insurance products with the objective to drive traffic to a microsite and increase sales.

They gained a 3.5x increase in e-commerce sales during 2016 Singles’ Day across 3 products.

Likewise, a lifestyle furniture client partnered with Lion & Lion in 2017 for their digital Singles’ Day campaign and offered customers selected products at an attractive discounted price for a limited period.

The campaign gained 3.5 times higher amount of sessions (visits) on their e-commerce website for Singles’ Day compared to the rest of November.

2. Generate awareness early

Campaigns with short timeframes need to have a strong media plan and channel strategy in place to ensure awareness and hype is built up in the week(s) prior. Google Trend shows a steep increase in searches on “Singles' Day” in the months between September and November. Most notable is 2017, where Singles’ Day reached a new search record with a 1.3x higher online conversion rate in APAC markets compared to average days in the same month.

At the very least, marketers should start advertising one week prior to the actual sale. A strong channel strategy leveraging email marketing and social media will enable brands to use insights about consumers’ interests and build segments that can help target the relevant audience with greater precision. On Singles’ Day itself, focus should be on driving paid traffic and ensuring feedback is received on the products, which will help brands to capture returning customers.

3. Optimise for conversion and sale

First, to convert interested consumers into sales brands will need a dedicated landing page, either on the brand’s main website or a microsite. Changing the brand’s entire website for Singles’ Day might require too much time, resources and effort, thus consider a dedicated microsite with a conversion focused design as a more viable option.

Secondly, the website or microsite needs to contain campaign specific details, for example, hero banners and site links, to drive clicks to the Singles’ Day offer(s). If developing an e-commerce platform is too demanding, brands may consider using “shop and pick” where customers pay online and pick a store they wish to pick up the product(s) from. Remember to embed tracking to ensure data is obtained from interested shoppers which can be used for paid ad and email retargeting.

Finally, shoppers are more likely to choose mobile over desktop today because of convenience, thus with the increased capacity to purchase anytime and anywhere, brands have to ensure the website or microsite is optimised and mobile-friendly.

Make your Singles’ Day campaign roar

While the e-commerce giants start planning for Singles’ Day months in advance, it is still not too late to tap into the biggest sale of the year. With a focused campaign plan, concrete product offerings, and proper logistics in place, there is still an opportunity to connect with your customers on Singles’ Day.

Supriya Jain is the managing director for Lion & Lion in Hong Kong

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