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How to Increase Sales with Singles' Day Marketing

How to Increase Sales with Singles' Day Marketing
Karlina Rozkalne

By Karlina Rozkalne

9 min read

In addition to Black Friday Cyber Monday, there are a number of Q4 shopping holidays to add to your ecommerce calendar and make the most of the holiday season. In this article, let’s focus on Alibaba’s Singles’ Day on November 11—a day that started as a cynical response to Valentine’s Day in China and turned into a record-breaking shopping event.

Just last year, Alibaba raked in more than $84 billion worth of sales on November 11 across its online platforms—that’s more than Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day combined. And Single Day’s popularity is growing more and more each year across the globe

graph of Alibaba’s gross merchandise volume on Singles’ Day from 2011 to 2021
Alibaba’s gross merchandise volume on Singles’ Day from 2011 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars). Source: Statista

Let’s look at how Singles’ Day came to be and how you can make the most out of it.

What is Singles’ Day?

Singles’ Day is a shopping holiday dedicated to celebrating singlehood. Created in 1993 by Nanjing University students, it was then called Bachelor’s Day. As its popularity grew among Chinese youth, ecommerce giant Alibaba adopted it as a singles’ shopping holiday in 2009. Alibaba renamed the holiday Singles’ Day because the date, 11/11, represents 4 singles.

Singles’ Day is on the rise in ecommerce

The explosive growth of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shattered sales records worldwide—from $5.8 billion in 2013 to $84.54 billion in 2021—capturing the eye of the international ecommerce industry. The rise of Singles’ Day can also be partly attributed to China’s population of 1.4 billion. It is, after all, the world’s biggest market and most populous country.

An image showing Singles day hoodie design
Source: Etsy, Design by AlexisCaraCastro

Singles’ Day is becoming a worldwide shopping phenomenon, and there’s now a whole shopping festival revolving around it—the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Major retailers like H&M, Nike, and Gap have successfully merged Singles’ Day into their end-of-the-year sales. Even luxury brands like Gucci and Cartier are participating in this festival. Isn’t it time for you to jump in on the trend too?

How did Alibaba’s Singles’ Day become such a big deal?

It all comes down to strategic planning, a clear marketing strategy, and sales promotion. Here’s a breakdown of Alibaba’s approach for Singles’ Day: 

  • Offering an interactive and engaging shopping experience—from gamification elements to online fashion shows
  • Consistent multichannel selling and omnichannel marketing
  • Virtual reality experiences for customers—from interactive games to lucky draws
  • High-quality and affordable products
  • Mobile-first and in-app coupons
  • Customer loyalty programs with the chance to earn rewards, credits, and gifts

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day also combines shopping with entertainment—shoppertainment. What does this mean? Each year, big-name celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift have participated in holiday-related events and livestreams to generate buzz and boost sales. 

Last year, however, event organizers chose to endorse social welfare initiatives instead of focusing on record-breaking sales or entertaining shoppers. For example, there was a three-hour-long livestream to help raise money for an elephant reserve in China’s rural southwest.

6 Singles’ Day marketing ideas to increase sales

Most business owners probably can’t get A-list celebrities to promote 11/11 sales, but there are plenty of other strategies you can use to make the most of this global shopping day. Let’s go over some effective Singles’ Day marketing ideas.

1. Give your customers Singles’ day deals

As with any shopping event, discounts are the main attraction, so consider organizing a sale or giving your customers a good deal for the occasion. Before setting your prices or deciding on a discount, check out our guide on how to price your products. After all, being profitable is more than just making sales.

Now, let’s take a look at some examples of deals you can offer.

1.1. Sitewide sale

One of the strategies is to offer a discount on everything you offer. This gives your customers a lot of freedom. Since profit margins for every product differ, calculate how much of a discount on average you can afford to remain profitable.

sitewide sngles' day sale
Sitewide Singles’ day sale. Source: angelallurecollection IG

1.2. A bundle deal

You can offer various bundle deal variations: buy one, get one free, buy one, get the second one at a reduced price, or buy two of the same kind and get a discount, etc. 

bundle deal example
Source: sulwhasoo ad

There isn’t one right way to do it: if you want to find out what your customers value the most, run a small poll on your social media. That way, you know you’re giving them what they want.

2. Create an email discount campaign

Since Americans check their phones 96 times a day on average (nobody can resist the temptation of a new notification), sending a thought-out email campaign is a great way to reach your audience. In fact, according to HubSpot, 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses via email.

Read also: Email Copywriting Tips to Keep Customers Happy

The most effective way to get your audience’s attention via email is to create a sense of urgency with a campaign. The best way to do this? A limited-time offer (see an example below). You can also reward your customers with a Singles’ Day coupon code. For example, on November 11, most international brands offer 11% or 22% off. 

a limited-time offer from Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld’s email campaign. Source: smartrmail.com

In addition to giving your customers a good deal, you can use email to showcase some of the products you’re selling. Pick the most profitable products and bundle them together, as the brand Quiksilver did.

You can also get new people to subscribe to your email list by offering a discount code in return. Setting a time limit will create urgency and incentivize them to act swiftly.

an ad for singles' day sale
Source: TGC Fashion Facebook Ad

Aside from product discounts, some brands also offer free shipping, which leads to reduced cart abandonment and increased sales. Nearly all shoppers value free shipping, so it’s a great marketing tool to boost customer loyalty. As an extra perk for your customers, offer a discount and free shipping to ensure customer satisfaction.

Examples of Singles’ Day deals offered by well-known brands
Sources: Milled, Edited, Aldo

3. Launch products that promote self-love

This shopping holiday is the perfect occasion for self-gifting, a trend that’s on the rise among Millennials and Gen Z. Why not follow suit and offer your customers products promoting self-love? 

Think about t-shirts with simple, heartwarming designs. The idea of Singles’ Day is to celebrate yourself, so shoppers will appreciate styles that do just that. 

You could also design something for relaxing me-time at home or for going to the spa. A satin robe or soft Turkish towel, perhaps?

To get more ideas for products to customize, look through our bestseller category in the Printful catalog and read our blog on trending products in 2022.

4. Boost social media engagement

Prepare your store for a Singles’ Day sale by engaging your social media followers. 80% of marketers use pictures in their social media marketing, so go heavy on the visuals, and don’t be afraid to use a little humor!

An image showing how human brain is processing visual information
Source: Neil Patel blog

A few ideas for what you can create to gain more exposure for your business:

  • Infographics with interesting facts about the importance of self-love
  • Memes with puns or funny gifs related to being single
  • Images that showcase your upcoming Singles’ Day products
  • Videos with relatable humor about being single vs. being taken, or about treating yourself
  • A behind-the-scenes look at Singles’ Day prep, or genuine, personal content (images, blog posts, or vlogs)
  • Give examples of how to practice self-love
moomin meme about being single
Meme about self-love. Source: Google
Kyle Jenner meme about being single
Meme about not being in a relationship. Source: Google

Another way to increase brand awareness and social media engagement is to create a branded hashtag. This also shows you’re part of a movement. Encourage your followers to use your hashtags and offer them something in exchange, like a chance to get featured on your accounts.

Aside from Alibaba’s Singles’ Day on November 11 (originally a Chinese shopping day), there’s also National Single Day (September 22) and Singles’ Awareness Day (February 15) in the U.S. All of these dates raise awareness about being single, but it’s probably best to stick to one. No need to overload your marketing calendar with various holidays that have the same theme.

Singles’ awareness day t-shirt design on etsy
Singles’ awareness day t-shirt design. Source: AcesClothingCo on Etsy

5. Create a personalized shopping experience 

Alibaba has taken it to the next level with gamification. Gone are the days when customers would wait for a sale to buy something. Now, they take part in highly immersive shopping activities. 

Online retailers often use games to enrich the shopping experience or quizzes to generate sales leads—just look at BuzzFeed’s success! The popularity of this viral news site went through the roof when they started adding shareable quizzes to their content. You can do something similar. 

Here are a few ways to make Singles’ Day fun for your customers: 

  • Free quizzes. Topic suggestions: “Are you a holiday shopaholic?”, “Find the perfect Singles’ Day gift for yourself!” Use free tools like Interact or PlayBuzz to create quizzes for your website or social media.
  • Instagram or Facebook Polls. Topic suggestions: “Which product do you think will be a Singles’ Day bestseller?” or “What Singles’ Day deals would you like to see?”
  • Surveys. Topic suggestions: “Which new products would you like to see in our Singles’ Day collection?” or “What’s the best Singles’ Day gift you’ve given yourself?” Use free tools like SurveyMonkey, SurveyPlanet, or similar alternatives to create a survey and share it online with your customers.
An image of Topshop's style quiz on their website
Topshop’s Style Quiz on their website

6. Livestream your Singles’ Day sale launch

Depending on your audience, you can build hype by livestreaming with Facebook Live. By July 2022, Facebook reported 2.9 billion monthly active users, which makes it a great platform for extending your organic reach.

Aware of the potential, many ecommerce businesses use Facebook Live to boost sales and attract new customers. The best part? It’s cost effective and easy to use—no production or editing skills are required.

A few things you can livestream:

  • Countdown to a Singles’ Day sale
  • Launch event or new product announcement 
  • Exclusive sneak peek of an upcoming Singles’ Day collection
  • Singles’ Day Q&A or a discussion about the content you’ve shared (e.g., infographics, videos, posts, quizzes) to encourage feedback from your followers
  • Product reviews—order some pieces and show them to your customers (talk about the material, print quality, or even try on a piece or two)

Poll your customers to find out what they’d like to see. That way, you’ll increase your customer engagement, pique their interest, and provide content that’s truly valuable. 

Be sure to post event reminders before you livestream so people won’t miss it! 

As an alternative to Facebook Live, you can also amp up your Instagram Stories on the day of the launch or use Instagram Live.

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Time to start promoting

Last but not least—start promoting early. Timing is everything when it comes to marketing, so it’s a good idea to get a head start and begin preparing your store for Singles’ Day now. To learn more about creating an actionable holiday marketing plan, head to our blog on jumpstarting your holiday preparations.

While drawing up your Singles’ Day marketing plan, take a quick look at the top trending products in 2022 to see what sells. Good luck!

author

By Karlina Rozkalne on Sep 6, 2022

Karlina Rozkalne

SEO Content Writer

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.