If you’re looking to grow your store, it’s worth adding Singles’ Day to your holiday marketing calendar. In China, the holiday’s country of origin, Singles’ Day has become bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday! In this blog post, we’ll look into how that happened and share some Singles’ Day marketing ideas for increasing store sales.
What is Singles’ Day?
Singles’ Day is all about celebrating singlehood. Created in 1993 by Nanjing University students, it was then called Bachelor’s Day. As its popularity grew among Chinese youth, the world’s 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 on the rise in ecommerce
The explosive growth of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day has shattered sales records worldwide—from $5.7 billion in 2013 to $30.8 billion in 2018—capturing the eye of the international ecommerce industry. The rise of Singles’ Day can also be partly attributed to China’s whopping population of 1.4 billion. It is, after all, the world’s biggest market and most populous country!
Recently dubbed the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Singles’ Day is fast becoming a global shopping phenomenon. Even major retailers such as H&M, Nike, and GAP have successfully merged Singles’ Day into their end-of-the-year sales. Time to jump in on the trend!
How did Alibaba’s Singles’ Day become so big?
It all comes down to strategic planning, marketing, and sales promotion. Here’s a breakdown of Alibaba’s brand experience for Singles’ Day:
- Interactive and engaging shopping experience
- Consistent multichannel selling and omnichannel marketing
- Virtual reality experiences for customers—from interactive games to lucky draws
- High quality and affordability
- Mobile-first and in-app coupons (over 90% of purchases last year were done via smartphone or tablet)
- Customer loyalty program with the chance to earn rewards, credits, and free gifts
Then there’s the Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Gala that also combines shopping with entertainment—live streaming fashion shows and onstage celebrity appearances like Pharrell Williams’ and Kris Wu’s “Double 11” duet in 2017.
5 Singles’ Day marketing ideas for increasing sales
Since ordinary folks like you and I probably can’t get celebrities to promote 11/11 sales, we have to use other strategies to make the most of this global shopping day. Let’s go over some Singles’ Day marketing ideas! However, do keep in mind your customers’ needs and preferences when experimenting with campaigns.
1. Create an email discount campaign
According to a study by Marketing Sherpa, 72% of customers prefer to get promos through email. For them, it’s the easiest way to stay connected with your brand. Sending email campaigns drives traffic to your website and gets the word out fast—it’s personal, convenient, and direct. Most people check their inboxes on mobile, making email marketing the ideal tactic.
The most effective way to catch your audience’s attention on email is to create a sense of urgency with a campaign, e.g. a flash sale. You can also reward your customers with a Singles’ Day coupon code. On November 11, most international brands offer 11% off. This year’s Singles’ Day marks the 11th anniversary of the holiday—all the more reason to offer the discount!
Aside from product discounts, some brands offer free shipping as well. My suggestion? As a gift to your customers, you can offer both to ensure customer satisfaction. A study by NRF in early 2019 revealed that more online shoppers expect free shipping, so this is a great marketing tool for boosting customer loyalty. Not only does it lead to reduced cart abandonment, but also increased sales.
2. 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. Daniel Zhang of Alibaba confirms that “46% of 11/11 sales in 2018 came from customers born in the 1990s and later.” Why not follow suit and offer your customers products promoting self-love?
A recent survey revealed that the most popular Singles’ Day product category is apparel, followed by accessories. As far as self-love goes, no accessory expresses it more intimately than jewelry. Use the opportunity to launch a limited edition jewelry line! To take it to the next level, you can make it customizable with Printful’s personalization tool. For example, you could offer customers to have their names engraved as part of the design.
3. 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!
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 (infographics can increase web traffic by up to 12%)
- Memes with puns or funny gifs related to singlehood or bachelorhood
- Images that showcase your upcoming Singles’ Day products
- Videos with relatable humor about “being single vs being taken” or “treating yourself”
- Behind-the-scenes or personal, genuine content (images, a blog post, or vlog)
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!
4. Create a personalized shopping experience
Alibaba has taken it to the next level with gamification. Gone are the days when customers would just 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, too, can do something similar.
Here are a few ways to make Singles’ Day fun for your customers:
- Free quizzes. Topic suggestions: “What kind of a holiday shopper are you?”, “Find the perfect Singles’ Day gift for yourself!” Use free tools such as Interact or PlayBuzz to create quizzes for your website or social media.
- Instagram or Facebook Polls. Topic suggestions: “What is the biggest shopping holiday in China?”, “Which product do you think will be a Singles’ Day best-seller?”, “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?”, “What’s the best Singles’ Day gift you’ve given yourself?” Use free tools such as SurveyMonkey or SurveyPlanet to create a survey and share it online with your customers. If you have a Facebook page, you can also create a survey using Facebook List.
5. Livestream your Singles’ Day sale launch
Depending on your audience, you can build up suspense and hype by livestreaming with Facebook Live. As of June 2019, Facebook reported an estimated 2.4 billion monthly active users, which makes it a great platform for extending your organic reach. Due to the sheer amount of users, Facebook Live has overtaken YouTube as the top video streaming service since its launch!
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 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
Before you livestream, post reminders of the event 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.
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 prepare your store for Singles’ Day. To learn more about how to create an actionable holiday marketing plan, head over to our blog on jumpstarting your holiday preparations.
Use our Singles’ Day marketing ideas to provide interactive content and drive traffic to your store. The more traffic, the higher the chances for increasing Singles’ Day sales! While planning, take a quick look at the top trending products in 2019 to see what sells.