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How to maximise sales on Singles’ Day – the world’s largest shopping event

Singles’ Day or 11.11, originally called Bachelors’ Day, falls on November 11 each year. The day has become one of the most successful global shopping events across Asia and many parts of the world. 

Started by Alibaba in 2009, Singles’ Day was aimed at young singles in China to treat themselves to gifts. However, this annual event has now gained a multibillion shopping status, tempting brands from across the world to make the most of this day.

In 2020, Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com racked up around $115 billion in sales across their platforms during Singles’ Day (CNBC), both setting new records. With 250,000 brands (of which 31,000 were from overseas (9News) and 5 million online retailers participating with 16 million products on offer, holiday shoppers had a lot to choose from last year! 

With its growing popularity, Singles’ Day is increasingly gaining attention from global brands, making it one of the most anticipated sale days. So how do you leverage the event to acquire new customers and drive sales? Here are a few essential tips to help you grab the customer’s attention as well as maximize your revenue this Singles’ Day.

Segmentation and personalisation

We all know relevancy and personalisation drive customer loyalty. Modern shoppers want to feel special and look out for tailored experiences. Segmentation allows you to deliver targeted messages to specific audience groups. Cross tracking and using insights from your transaction data flow across your retail channels, allows you to build granular segments to deliver relevant and personalised marketing throughout. 

Customer modelling tools such as Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM), and lead scoring will be invaluable during this period and can help you group your audience based on their spending behaviour and how they interact with your brand. RFM and lead scoring also consider online engagement. Email opens and high-intent page hits, provide insights into who’s engaging with your brand. You can then enrol them into relevant automation programs and devise tailored campaigns catering to customer sentiments to drive future purchases.  

For example, Caruso’s Natural Health utilised its RFM segments to push its Singles’ Day campaign to specific personas, giving early access discounts to their loyal customers. The brand saw a 72-per-cent increase in conversion rates from the RFM segmented audiences, which accounted for 25 per cent of the total revenue generated from the email campaigns.

Creating eye-catching emails

The success of your email campaign is underpinned by great design. Because when the design is poor or shoddy, engagement rates go down – and that’s not good for business, especially around key sales days.

Select the best words to convey your message, communicating your intended ideas and concepts. The success of your emails also hinges on brand recognition – people need to identify who you are, and quickly. Ensure your logo is clearly visible above the fold, and don’t forget to use the friendly from name as a recognition prompt for subscribers. 

Use your brand’s creative assets to style your emails, helping recipients recognise who you are. The language you use should indicate what the action is or the resource/information you’re linking to. With buttons, you can test which words or phrases work better.

Cath Kidston 11.11 Mega Sale email captures the attention of readers, engaging them with their content while enticing them with several offers – whether it is the 20-30-per-cent discount, or the free gift wrap for $30 and over purchases, or the clever one-for-one deal on luggage and accessories. The well-designed email stays true to the brand and the images strike a good balance with white space.

Winning subject line

As key holiday shopping days inch closer, customer inboxes are flooded with deals and the one that grabs attention wins instantly. An inbox is a noisy place at best times, but during shopping events like Singles’ Day, the sound is deafening. Cutting through the din of sale announcements and discount-driven messages is crucial, and a stand-out subject line puts your campaign in with the best chance of securing an open. 

Use your subject line to shout about the value of your proposition – whether that be special holiday editions of content, access to interactive media, or time-limited offers. Make sure your subject line acknowledges where a customer is on their journey with your brand; this drives relevancy and fulfils the one-to-one communication experience. A fantastic example here from Pupsik’s 9.9 sales offer. It includes first name personalisation, the sale day and discount offer, as well as specific brands that are on special:

Hi Aparna, 9.9 Sale – 20 per cent off Baa Sheepz, Baby Bjorn, Skip Hop, Oxo, Ergo, Bravado.

Segment customers by pathway actions, like date of signup or most recent purchase, and devise subject lines that speak directly to the customer’s experience. The other thing you might want to consider is adding an emoji to help your subject line stand out in customers’ inboxes. A great example here, from Cath Kidston: 

✨ THE 11.11 MEGA SALE IS NOW ON! ✨

Remarketing and retargeting

To make the most of Singles’ Day, remarketing and retargeting are the best ways to reduce lost sales. As remarketing re-engages with customers through email marketing, retargeting attempts to recover sales through online and display ads. Both methods attempt to reach out to website visitors who have already shown an interest in products or services but then left the website without completing their purchase.

Thankfully, this allows marketers to persuade interested customers to make a purchase. By leveraging savvy trigger-based emails, as well as personalisation, you can make sure you’re targeting browsers with correct info at the right time. If you have a good strategy, you will convert shoppers into customers.

Identify the most successful conversion method – email, socials ads, SMS, messaging apps and accordingly create promotions prior to the Singles’ Day that taps into your customer’s sentiments, and they will love you. 

Beyond just a single day…

Starting in early September there are numerous online shopping events that offer a massive opportunity beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Mark these important dates on your marketing sales calendar, but be sure to ascertain which of these dates will resonate with your brand and audience. For instance, in numerous countries, Remembrance Day/Veterans Day is observed on November 11 to recall the end of the First World War and to honour military veterans – keep that in mind as you schedule your Singles’ Day campaigns across various demographics. You don’t want to miss these key sales events but be sure not to spread yourself too thin.

  • September 9: 9.9 Super Shopping Day
  • October 10: 10.10 Perfect Sale 
  • October 31: Halloween
  • November 11: 11.11 Singles’ Day
  • December 12: 12.12 Sale 
  • December 26: Boxing Day 

Singles’ Day is a great opportunity to get ahead of the competition by running your own promotions and I hope you’ve found these essential tips helpful, as you plan for the upcoming holiday season!

  • About the author: Aparna Gray is Head of Marketing, APAC at Dotdigital.