The holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier each year. For those brands that are looking to tap into China’s massive market, the season starts as early as November 11, Single’s Day.
This largest retail day in the year is something of a Valentine’s Day rival. And singles are loving it. Last year, Single’s Day racked up a jaw-dropping $17.8 billion in sales—in a SINGLE day.
If advertisers don’t already have a China strategy, a good place to start is to determine a marketing approach for Single’s Day. To help brands get a better handle, we tapped two top Chinese publishers in the CJ network, 55Haitao and SMZDM, to offer some insight into how advertisers can successfully leverage Single’s Day.
What types of brands and products are most successful with Single’s Day?
55Haitao: Single’s Day is such a big ecommerce day in China, I'd say it covers nearly all verticals. Chinese cross-border shoppers tend to prefer brands that have some cachet and that are typically more expensive to buy domestically.
SMZDM: Advertisers in the beauty, fashion, luxury, kids and health & supplement verticals tend to do well.
What interesting trends can you share from your experience with Single’s Day in previous years?
55Haitao: The biggest trend we've seen is the amount of advertisers who are running Single's Day promotions. Account managers are actively reaching out, trying to book Single’s Day placements with us, which is great to see.
SMZDM: We are seeing bigger incentives for bigger carts, resulting in bigger bulk buying with merchants. In addition, more mainstream brands are participating due to better awareness of Single’s Day here in the US, which ultimately leads to better deals and sales.
How has Single’s Day affected North America and North American brands specifically?
55Haitao: In the past few years, we have seen more and more American merchants who are interested in running Single’s Day promotions. With the emerging Chinese market, and the growing cross-border industry, merchants are trying to find creative ways to tap into the opportunities that are available in China.
SMZDM: 11/11 is now one of the three biggest shopping days in November, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Chinese shoppers realize that Single’s Day is being promoted in the US as well, so many of the haitao (cross-border shoppers) will visit a number of Chinese publishers in the affiliate network that day. Brands that participate—American and otherwise—will be mentioned on Chinese social media and PR outlets, thus giving those brands additional equity in China.
What advice do you have for US-based advertisers who want to successfully leverage Single’s Day?
55Haitao: The most important thing to remember is that Chinese shoppers are smart, and have a good memory. If advertisers are unable to provide a promotion that matches, or at least comes close to matching their Black Friday or Cyber Monday offers, shoppers will wait another two weeks for the better price. The shopping holidays have been growing in size and scope over the last few years so an advertiser has to make sure they have a really attractive offer that will get them noticed through the crowd.
As mentioned previously, it's important for advertisers to keep in mind the expectations of Chinese shoppers. If they are unwilling or unable to run one of their strongest promotions, they may not see significant ROI. Advertisers in China go all out for Singles Day, and US-based advertisers should do the same if they hope to have a successful shopping holiday. One option that has worked is testing “runner-up” offers for this holiday that didn’t get approved for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
SMZDM: Ask lots of questions! Assume you know nothing. You really want to see the shopping process through the cross border shopper’s eye. Listen to your Chinese publisher account team as they have good insight into the Chinese market.
Start planning in advance and don't just assume you’ll do the same thing you did last year, unless it worked really well, then try it again. Make your offer a unique one, and whenever possible, localize the deal and promotional content. Look at products that performed well during the year and promote those popular products, especially those that tend to sell well cross-border. Search on Taobao and Tmall if your product is being promoted and for how much to ensure your offer is competitive.
We also suggest advertisers try new avenues of marketing that Chinese publishers have available, like live streaming, product reviews, and extensive article write ups. It’s a plus if they take Chinese payment like Wechat Pay, Alipay or Union pay.
Then once you’re ready to go, push out the deal at midnight 11/11 China time—and just make sure you have enough inventory in stock that day!
So, what are you waiting for? Single’s Day is right around the corner. Start incorporating preparing your strategies today, and let us know how this adds to your holiday success.