Alibaba’s 12.12 eCommerce Festival and Why You Should Take Part

 In China, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, Social Media Marketing

These days Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is increasingly well known in the West for its blowout promotions and billions of dollars in Gross Merchandise Volume generated for Alibaba. But what is less well known is that as Singles’ Day’s success grew, Alibaba added several other ‘double’ festivals to its roster (amongst other retail led festivals LINK).

Now, aside from Singles’ Day (‘Double 11’) held on the 11th November, we have the ‘Double 9’ wine and spirits festival held on the 9th September (so-called because the Chinese word for ‘nine’ sounds like the word for ‘alcohol’) and 12.12 (Double 12) held on 12th December.

So what is Double 12 or 12.12 Festival About?

If Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is about driving consumers online to spend with discounts, then Double 12 is about driving consumers to spend offline AND online with discounts.

Nominally, 12.12 was started to help smaller companies on Alibaba’s Ebay-like platform Taobao, who were unable either to provide the volume that Singles’ Day requires or to cut prices deeply enough.

So, instead of forcing participating merchants to drop at least some of their prices by 50% (as in Singles’ Day), all that is required for participation in 12.12 is for merchants to ensure that the prices they offer in the sales are lower than in the 30 days preceding it.

This allows smaller (and larger) merchants alike the chance to promote their products without slashing prices – and losing carefully nurtured brand equity.

12.12 Double 12 Festival Alibaba

Offline Retailers Across the World Embrace Double 12

In addition to this online campaign, Alibaba also leverages its mobile payments platform Alipay to extend these discounts to participating physical retailers.

In 2016 for example, 28m consumers took part in Alibaba’s 12.12 sale online, but an extra 30m people used the 12.12 deals in physical stores.

These usually take the form of coupons that provide a fixed percentage discount on a category (for example, Food & Beverages) and a ‘bonus’ for using Alipay for the transaction, which can provide up to 50% off.

DFS’s Online to Offline Partnership with Alibaba for Double 12 Festival

This dual approach has proved incredibly popular with consumers as a combination of these two discounts allows them to utilise these discounts at multiple stores as well as outside of China.

One company using this approach to reach Chinese consumers globally was DFS Group, which offered special coupons for its stores in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Singapore. It offered with 50% off when the payments in store were made with Alipay and then a further 10% off beauty, fashion and wine & spirits.

300,000 merchants across the world offered this discount in 2016, up from just 20,000 participants in 2015 and we expect this meteoric rise to continue this year.

Should my Brand Participate in 12.12?

Your brand should participate in 12.12 if you can either offer the combination of online and offline discounts in your stores across the world, or you operate a store on Taobao, Alibaba’s C2C store.

12.12 is a fantastic opportunity for foreign brands to drive offline activation of their brand with Chinese consumers across the world. As all of the offline discounts require the consumer to visit a physical location, opportunities to build brand awareness and customer loyalty abound.

12.12 however still remains small enough that SMEs can have real impact. Where Singles’ Day is dominated by deep pocketed multi-nationals, 12.12 still has room for other brands to participate – though this is changing fast.

With the festival on the horizon for this year, you’ll have to act fast to get involved.

At Tong, we’ve driven offline brand activation for some of Britain’s best-known brands, from Whittard of Chelsea to Chelsea Football Club. Get in touch below and we’ll put together a world class campaign for you for 12.12.

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.

Recommended Posts
Alibaba Singles' Day final sales figuresSina Weibo logo