How to boost your sales on Singles day in China

China’s Singles Day offers a unique e-commerce opportunity for Western brands and it falls on 11th November, which a campaign plan has been already in place by most Western brands. To those unfamiliar with Chinese Singles Day, the ‘Anti Valentine’s’ event celebrates pride in one’s single status and it’s akin to the Western Black Friday in terms of e-commerce retail opportunities. In fact, online sales during the 24-hour Chinese Singles Day now exceed the combined value of America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail rushes, with Alibaba racking in over $25billion of sales last year. [Source:]

Yes, it’s a busy time of year for Western retailers, with planning already well underway for most brands in the run-up to Christmas. However, the potential gains are clear; China is now the biggest e-commerce market in the world and its online sales reach over $1.5 trillion annually. Furthermore, sophisticated Chinese buyers love Western brands and view them as offering quality and status. This means a potentially ready audience of motivated customers – if you get your strategy right.

So if you’re ready to take the plunge, how can you get the most from your marketing campaign for China’s singles day?

Gain your insights

It’s important to know the features of China’s Singles Day, which include a growing interest in luxury brands as well as the more typical high volume, deep discount and thin margin sales. It’s also a largely celebratory event, with Alibaba and Amazon investing heavily in TV and experiential advertising in the run-up to the day. Big brands feature highly and key product sales categories include fashion, beauty, electricals and homeware.

Know what you’re doing!

Work with a Chinese Marketing Agency if you want to get your marketing campaign in this vast and complex country right. For example, discounts which feature the number 4 are best avoided, as the number has unlucky connotations in China. However, good fortune is signified by the number 8 and you could factor this into your pricing and promotion to ramp up your ‘feelgood’ factor and encourage those online conversions.

Target, Target, Target

Chinese Singles Day is such a vast event that it pays for Western brands to really pin down their targeting before they begin to launch their marketing campaign. For example, female consumers are rising in China and this is changing the product categories that sell the most – with beauty, clothing, health and nutrition and baby items growing in prominence. Female Chinese shoppers are also shown to be detailed in their research and more inclined to use online buyer guides and social media to compare prices and to read reviews. As an example, Charlotte Tilbury was successfully launched as a new brand in China by Feelunique. The previously unknown make-up brand was brought to market via a social media education campaign and partnership with a KOL to deliver brand exposure and help to create trust, using Weibo and WeChat accounts.

Choose your platforms

The platform that leads Chinese Singles Day sales is Alibaba, and last year around 60,000 global brands joined the rush, helping to list over 15 million products on Tmall., Amazon and other growing e-commerce platforms are also competing hard to win custom during the event. [Source:]. However, because these online marketplaces are crowded and tend towards deep-discounting over the holiday, some overseas brands may prefer to focus instead on their own Chinese website. By doing this, they can better target niche audiences and offer service and quality as key differentiators. Examples of companies already doing this include GetTheLabel and Burberry. [Source:]

Focus on mobile

Remember that e-commerce is now heavily led by mobile devices, with 80% of Chinese shoppers choosing to buy using their smartphones. Phones are easy and quick and online buyers are digitally savvy and often young. With that in mind, make sure you offer a recognised payment system such as Union Pay, AliPay or WeChat Pay. Remember too that these platforms offer digital marketing opportunities too. Post-purchase, you can encourage your customers to follow your brand on social media and offer special deals or promotions for additional or later purchases.

Integrate your campaign

The digital e-commerce platforms of choice for China’s Singles Day offer plenty of scope for creative marketing. For example, if you set up a TMall merchant web page, you can stream content to your customers, leverage the value of Chinese Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) and their social media feed recommendations and integrate with the live countdown event to get your customers excited and ready to buy. A multi-channel approach is best for cross-fertilisation of your messaging and content, and if your budget and tech allow it, activities such as live streaming are extremely and worth pursuing in the run-up to the big day itself.

Baidu PPC

As China’s equivalent to Google, you must place and target Baidu PPC adverts carefully in order to differentiate yourself from the competition. Make sure your website landing pages are optimised – if you haven’t created a dedicated Chinese website – set up your Baidu PPC account (using help from your Chinese Marketing agency ideally to speed up the process), run your Chinese language adverts and measure the results on Baidu Tongji (Analytics). Again, your Chinese marketing agency can deliver this service for you to optimise your results and ROI.

Chinese Social media

Start the buzz now in the run-up to China’s Singles Day, using KOLs where you have identified a beneficial partnership opportunity. Teaser campaigns showcasing the product lines you will be promoting at discount for Chinese Singles Day help your Chinese customers to research your product and make a decision to buy in advance. Remember, they only have 24 hours to take advantage of those offers, so make it as easy as possible for them to choose yours by providing the information that they need beforehand. Use a mix of video content, images, news and promos to build your brand presence and relationships with your followers. Remember too that this market loves quirky content, so gamification is another good strategy to follow. Again, you have the social media giants such as WeChat, Weibo and YouKu, but there are also other smaller platforms which may be relevant to your niche.

Targeted online advertising in China

Click volumes tend to increase in the week running up to Chinese Singles Day as shoppers carry out their research online, but conversions remain relatively low until the actual day. Plan your targeted online advertising in line with these trends, offering links to content which raises awareness of your brand, your product range and your key messages. Get your rich media advertising and targeting strategy right and your target audience will find you quickly.

Ready to find out more?

If you’re keen to make the most of Chinese Singles Day, Market Me China is here to help. Our team of marketing experts offer a full suite of professional digital marketing services, which we deliver in partnership with our clients to ensure measurable ROI and results. Contact us to find out more.