November is an incredibly busy month for retailers in Southeast Asia with almost back to back Single’s Day and Black Friday, Cyber Monday retail events.
Life has changed a lot since last year, but the retail juggernaut days are still hitting the mark. Single’s Day smashed through last year’s record to drive over $74 billion in sales and its predicted Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales will reach $189 billion this year.
But it’s worth noting that since both events were founded in 2009 the online retail environment has undergone significant transformation. Both were used as a platform to lure consumers to shop online, offering incredible special offers and more recently in the case of Single’s Day, bundling it all up with the razzle dazzle of celebrity concerts and live streams.
However, now consumers are (for the most part) entirely comfortable with shopping online, the challenge becomes less about single event high volume, price slashing strategies and more about creating long term value.
With change flowing through our collective personal and business veins this year, it’s a good time for retailers to take stock and consider their own relationships with their customers and consider how they can build a 365 day a year relationship with them.
From one-night stand to the long-haul
When Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles’ Day started it was more like a one-night stand. Brands sought to grab the attention with a shiny sales patter and tempt customers with too good to be true offers. However, as more and more customers have become comfortable with online shopping and with Covid-19 serving as an accelerant and fast-tracking digital transformation, brands need to focus on long-term relationships and find ways to captivate them forever.
Just as with any relationship, trying to get customers to commit for a lifetime requires a lot of hard work and patience. Brands must find a way to build their own brand profile outside of the large ecommerce websites, which themselves are becoming increasingly hard to differentiate between. When you layer in the fact that getting to Google’s first page is highly competitive, brand awareness campaigns are expensive and great targeting can be difficult to exercise, it’s hardly surprising that many smaller and newer brands struggle to establish themselves in the market.
When three isn’t a crowd
One of the ways to help build a long-term brand is to get a little help from friends. Or in this case from complementary brands, businesses and influencers who can augment brand building efforts, forming partnerships to help create lifelong customer relationships and lifetime customer value.
Partnering to get attention
If a brand is entering a new market, a new product category or targeting a new demographic it makes sense to partner with someone or something that already has traction in that space, to significantly increase the likelihood of target eyeballs seeing their new offer. Gaming lifestyle brand, Razer did just that by partnering with popular live-streaming network, Bigo Live to support the music community and take the clubbing experience online. They cured fans of their quarantine boredom and connected with a new audience of potential customers. This partnership was not just a win-win for both brands but also delivered a delightful experience for consumers during a difficult time.
Partnering for shared values
When a brand wants to reinforce its brand values and ensure customers recognise and understand its core DNA – or indeed align themselves with desirable values – then partnering with a kindred spirit can be effective. In Australia, Woolworths Pet Insurance partner with PetRescue (an organisation that has found homes for almost 300,000 of Australia’s rescue pets). It donates $10 for each new pet insurance policy purchased. This partnership is truly a win-win situation. Dogs benefit from the donations to Petrescue, whilst Woolworths Pet Insurance demonstrates its commitment to animal welfare whilst also expanding its customer network.
Partnering to experiment
Across Southeast Asia, an increasing number of brands are using partnerships to try out new and innovative ways to connect with their existing audience and expand into new demographics. For example, Coda Payments has teamed up with Malaysian telco company, U Mobile to let users win an exclusive Mobile Legends Bang Petrescu coaching session with pro player, Artha from Team SMG; driving both sales and brand awareness. It’s all about tapping into the network and resources of a complimentary brand or key online influencer and creating a compelling offer for your combined customer.
Partnering to reward loyalty
Creating new and innovative ways to drive brand loyalty is especially critical in Southeast Asia as consumers can be fickle, with this 2019 study revealing that three in four Singaporeans have no brand loyalty shopping online. This is where partnerships can play a role. For example, sporting goods store Decathlon and Citibank are working together to offer a discount to customers who pay for their purchases using Citibank’s credit card. This encourages and rewards loyalty for both brands by incentivising shoppers and can make the difference in a retail category where there are fewer differentiators.
Whether driven by the desire to experiment, gain attention or share values, there’s no doubt that partnerships can bring significant financial and reputational value to brands seeking new and innovative ways to develop their brand identity and create long-term relationships with customers beyond big sales events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles’ Day. The question is, which of these options will help you build your brand from a one-day wonder to a long-term relationship.