Established by Chinese University students in the early 90’s as the anti-valentine’s day event, Singles’ Day has exploded to become the world’s largest retail event, with 2017 sales eclipsing Cyber Weekend for the second consecutive year.

Over the 24-hour period that was Saturday, November 11th 2017, consumers spent approximately $25.3 billion globally, a 39% increase on 2016 sales. Further to this, sales within the first thirty minutes of the event exceeded $7 billion. Singles’ Day recent success is aided by the growing popularity in the event with western retailers – last year more than 60,000 international brands took part with 225 countries recording sales.

The Opportunity

China is home to the world’s largest retail market, generating nearly $5 trillion in total retail sales in 2017, representing 53.1% of sales in Asia-Pacific (APAC). By 2020, China will account for about 60% of global e-commerce. The sheer scale of the market, combined with Chinese consumers’ increasing desire for UK products presents a significant opportunity for advertisers. This is evident across our UK and AU networks, with a 61% increase in sales YoY on Singles’ Day 2017.

How to Participate

Our network data has shown that there is an increasing desire to purchase products from UK advertisers during Singles’ Day, so participating is a great way to test the waters of this new market. Our Australia-based APAC expert Rhiannon Farrar, has provided some key tips on how UK advertisers can capitalise on the world’s largest retail event:

Work with your partners

Leverage the extensive knowledge of your publishers in China and throughout Asia to ensure success over the Singles’ Day period. These publishers have wealth of knowledge of the nuances of the region and understand what motivates and drives their audiences to purchase. Listen to their recommendations for promotions and exposure as they will be key to success for international retailers.

Once you’ve established what promotions you will be offering, the most important step is communicating this with your partners as early as possible. There are a variety of ways affiliates can promote a retailer over Singles’ Day with additional exposure, including (but not limited to) bespoke email newsletters, sponsored content and paid placements. Placements for additional exposure opportunities are limited as Singles’ Day is highly competitive. Be prepared to offer compelling promotions and increased commission, flat fees or a bespoke coupon code to aid in securing exposure and attract customers to make an overseas purchase.

Test, review and refine

For those who are Singles’ Day newbies, use this year as an opportunity to trial promotions and offers to see what best works for your brand. Collate performance data and feedback from affiliates.

If you’re a retailer who has previously participated in Singles’ Day, one of the most valuable assets you have at your disposable is your data. Review the performance of previous years’ campaigns to get a sense of what worked, what didn’t and use this information as a means for shaping your Singles’ Day strategy.

Further to this, conduct a deep dive into the performance of your affiliate partnerships. Review the performance of new partnerships that have arisen since the previous year’s event, to reveal new campaigns and strategies that can be leveraged to optimise campaigns.

Choose your discount carefully

Ensure you choose your discount carefully and be wary of cultural differences. For example, the number four signifies death and the number eight signifies good fortune. We also recommend running a promotion in duplicates of 11, e.g. 11%, 22%, 33% etc to coincide with the theme of the day. If possible, we highly recommend offering free shipping as this will help entice international consumers to make a purchase.

Leverage Concierge Apps

Concierge apps are among the most popular platforms used by consumers in China to make shopping from international sites simple. On the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network, Concierge Apps are among the top performance drivers. Gathering product and brand information through product data feeds or web crawlers, these apps make it easier for international retailers to engage and convert Chinese consumers by:

  • Translating a brands website and promotions into the users preferred language
  • Working with third party logistic companies to ensure consumers receive their order, regardless of whether the retailer ships to China or not
  • Allowing Chinese consumers the ability to purchase from international retailers by connecting with Alipay or WeChatPay
  • Providing western retailers with the ability to provide real-time customer service in local language

If you’re interested in hearing more about conquering Singles’ Day and other retail event, please do get in touch with the Rakuten Marketing team today.