Shopee on how brands can prepare for mega-sale season

Connecting with customers on mega-sale days alone is no longer sufficient, says Huiyan Pan, regional marketing lead at Shopee. She explains brands must consistently raise awareness and engage with customers, before ramping up in the lead-up to mega-sale campaigns.

E-commerce has evolved over the years to bring shoppers more value, entertainment and engagement. Today, consumers look forward to the year-end mega-shopping season with great anticipation. A study carried out by Shopee found that over 90% of shoppers plan to shop during the year-end period and three-quarters plan to spend more.

These campaigns are now a big part of a brand’s online strategy, making it critical for it to understand how to both maximize its growth during this period and use it as a springboard for the future.

In building an effective e-commerce strategy, brands must first understand the role e-commerce platforms play today.

Platforms as both the start and finish line

E-commerce platforms are now key avenues for consumer discovery and exploration, with consumers increasingly starting their purchasing journey in-app. According to Google, the use of the e-commerce marketplace is 1.8x higher than brand websites. On Shopee Mall, the search volume for brand names grew 2x from 2019 to 2020, indicating that consumers are increasingly beginning their searches in-app.

This shows that e-commerce platforms are no longer just a point of sale or a channel for check out. Rather, it now represents the full-funnel consumer journey. It is therefore important for brands to optimize their outreach at every touchpoint from discovery to consideration to purchase within these ecosystems.

In 2020, Poco leveraged 9.9 Super Shopping Day to launch its new phone, propelling itself to become the best-selling brand with 1,000 units sold in Malaysia in just two minutes. Using a variety of tools such as in-app banners, informative livestream sessions and timed flash deals, it was able to engage customers effectively from discovery to checkout.

Invest across consumer touchpoints & address the complex consumer journey

Today, a shopper’s journey can span a wide range of channels, creating a non-linear purchasing path. For example, a shopper can hear about a product through various channels such as in-store or via word-of-mouth. Subsequently, they may turn to a different channel to find out more information, such as browsing social media or searching online for other similar products. The wide variety of options creates many ways in how a shopper’s purchasing journey can pan out. Brands thus need to connect with customers across various touchpoints, and then funnel them toward a more streamlined shopping journey, instead of trying to address the many permutations of a buyer’s purchasing path.

This can be done by investing across awareness channels and optimizing them to achieve one key goal: to drive customers on to the e-commerce platform. Once in-app, brands can leverage e-commerce platforms to address customers across their entire purchase journey.

For example, Asus Thailand used Google Ads with Shopee to increase traffic and drive sales to its Shopee store. By optimizing its search channels, it was able to see a 24% increase in traffic and an 8.5x return on ad spend after two weeks alone.

An always-on approach for the always-on consumer

In catering to today’s always-on customers, brands too must take a similar approach. Mega-sale campaigns should not be viewed as standalone events, but rather as milestones in a brand’s online commerce strategy.

Brands must be prepared well in advance of mega-sale season, the same way consumers are. Shopee found that shoppers started adding their desired items to their cart up to 30 days ahead of year-end campaigns.

Connecting with customers on mega-sale days alone is no longer sufficient. Brands must consistently raise awareness and engage with customers, before ramping up in the lead-up to mega-sale campaigns. One way to do so is by leveraging unique platform engagement tools such as games and livestream features, on-platform ads and loyalty programs to connect with customers to build brand affinity and awareness.

As more people and businesses move online, the need to be present and relevant is more important than ever. While mega-sale campaigns can be a big boost for brands, what happens before and after these events is just as important for a brand’s long-term online strategy. By understanding their customers’ habits and creating relevant experiences for them, brands can successfully drive awareness and sales throughout the year.

Huiyan Pan is the regional marketing lead at Shopee.