How To Prepare For Alibaba’s Singles’ Day: 4 Practical Tips From Tong

 In China, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, Social Media Marketing

We last looked at Singles’ Day back in 2015, when it was ‘only’ a 91 billion RMB bonanza. Since then Tmall’s shopping festival has only grown in size and pull over consumers, last year generating 120 billion RMB in GMV for Tmall.

As the festival has grown we have seen a marked shift in the way consumers participate in it. Where in 2015 68.7% of sales originated on mobile, last year this rose to a whopping 82% of orders – some 657 million deliveries and $14.6bn in GMV for Alibaba.

So, with November 11th and Singles’ Day fast approaching this year and further staggering growth predicted, what can you do now to hit the ground running on the day?

As one of the UK’s largest Chinese social media agencies we’ve prepared a few practical tips to ensure you get maximum value for your advertising spend and create maximum value for your brand.

1. START YOUR CAMPAIGN EARLY

The most important way you can prepare for Singles’ Day is to start your teasing your campaign and make your plans for Singles’ Day clear as early as possible.

Why?

As you might expect, China’s Singles’ Day has become the online shopping event of the year. The vast majority of the 500,000 brands on Tmall will be running one kind of promotion or another and frankly, competition for attention makes it very difficult to stand out from the crowd even a week before hand.  As you might expect, this also pushes prices for advertising and influencer marketing significantly higher than the value they provide.

So, by starting even 3-4 weeks ahead of the day, you’ll find consumers more receptive to your messaging and you’ll get better bang for your buck in terms of media and influencer spending.

2. BE PRESENT ON ALL THE RIGHT PLATFORMS

Tmall is owned by Alibaba, which has a stake in China’s Twitter, Sina Weibo.

Its arch rival, JD.com, is part-owned by Tencent, developer of China’s most popular social media app, WeChat.

As a result it is impossible to link from WeChat account to a Tmall store while Weibo’s ‘Window’ shoppable social media functionality is limited when linking to JD.com.

So, to make the most of Singles’ Day, use Weibo! It may play second fiddle to WeChat in terms of sheer user numbers, but it is still incredibly important for user acquisition and raising brand awareness.

It is still important to promote your Singles Day plans on WeChat as that is where most of your customers spend most of their time. But do consider that if you want to convert those promotions to Singles’ Day sales, you’ll need to convert them somewhere other than Tmall.

Shameless Plug: At Tong we’ve developed just such a solution – a social selling platform built into WeChat that allows people to buy in one click directly from WeChat articles. If you’re interested in the future of social commerce, get in touch and we’ll take you through how you can monetize your social content.

 JD.com is not to be confused with JD sports, as in this CityAM article

3. MAKE SURE YOU ARE MOBILE READY

Last year 82% of orders originated on mobile and this year we expect it to be closer to 90%. Mobile is where customers are and your marketing efforts should reflect this.

Make sure all of your content is mobile optimised – from images and graphics to video. Competition for consumer attention is intense before, during and after the festival, and if consumers can’t read the text in your banners, they’ll just move on.

4. PREPARE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICES TEAM

The average Chinese customer talks to customer services multiple times across multiple platforms before making a purchase. Tmall used to require any customer request be answered within one minute of being posted – an impressive feat for any brand, much less an entire B2C platform.

As a result Chinese consumers expect service that feels personal – agents must truly know the brand and appreciate its values. Anything less, and consumers won’t feel comfortable with purchasing. If you can’t answer consumer questions about a product and your competitor can, consumers will just move on.

So now is the time to start thinking about what resources you’ll need on the night and now is the time to start planning and training staff.

Last year Alibaba sold $1bn in GMV in the first five minutes after the festival opened. With the right preparation your brand will be ready to make the most of Singles’ Day and capture a share of this opportunity.

If your brand could use a boost in any of the areas above, contact us below for a helping hand. We’ve managed eCommerce, social media campaigns and customer services for brands large and small, from Chelsea Football Club and Whittard of Chelsea to Emerald Green Baby, a childcare startup.

Our eCommerce solution, WeCommerce, incorporates all of the above tips and our team of Chinese marketers and customer service agents is here to help.

TongDigital is an agency at the forefront of social commerce and digital marketing in China. We focus on social commerce through WeChat, social media marketing, digital PR and media buying in China.

Get in touch for a preliminary consultation on how to best sell direct to the Chinese consumer.

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