Singles Day is considered the biggest day of the year for brands in China, but the problems could be just around the corner
Singles Day, one of the most anticipated days in China, is coming and so dealers and brands are accelerating their activities for the big day. Last year, to understand the scope of the event, the brands have accumulated as much as $ 30.8 billion on the Alibaba, Taobao and Tmall platforms.
Singles Day and other big e-commerce holidays can represent, for many brands, more than half of their annual sales. Singles Day can often serve as a test case to show how a brand will perform for the rest of the year.
Despite the great importance of the event, or precisely for this reason, many foreign brands encounter management and implementation difficulties.
The problems that brands may encounter are the most varied
Foreign brands and retailers often find it difficult to adapt to the size and speed of the Chinese e-commerce market. The market in question, in fact, is much broader than any that they have ever faced in the past and the standards for customer service are high. In fact, customers expect immediate answers, quick deliveries and incentives for purchases.
Furthermore, the demand for certain products can increase enormously during e-commerce vacations and many retailers refuse or cannot get enough units because of their budgets. This is particularly common when the brands of smaller countries in Europe enter China for the first time.
In many cases, however, some retailers and brands with independent websites have shrunk. This can also happen to some of the larger platforms. Retail players should stress their servers and infrastructure a few weeks in advance to avoid this. In some cases, on the other hand, international brands and retailers choose local logistics service providers who are unable to handle the increase in demand during e-commerce vacations.
The large platforms, to overcome the difficulties listed above, could place banners with promotions of different brands to attract users for the big day. Brands can apply for these slots and get “free” traffic without having to spend on advertising. However, they generally have to provide great discounts to qualify. All this requires at least a month in advance for the organization.
Furthermore, retailers and brands should take stock of the items they sell, ordering them in advance from suppliers. They should also move the high turnover inventory to warehouses in the Hong Kong or China free trade zones for faster delivery.
What can brands do to prepare for the event?
The influencers, in all this, play an important role as a medium between brands and different customer bases. In fact, they help create trust and also activate sales.
Finally, offering discounts and incentives during the days and weeks preceding Singles Day is often cheaper than doing it on the big day. Many brands and retailers do it for less popular items and reserve their most popular items for the big day when there is less time to inform customers about newer items.
The day after the events the big brands should follow simple rules to remain, in any case, competitive and professional. To apologize for any delivery delays and send coupons to disappointed customers, for example, can be a good choice to retain customers.
Finally, it is important to take stock of what has worked and what has not. Singles Day is often a determining factor in how a brand will perform in the rest of the year. The costs of acquiring traffic are quite high, however, so don’t be discouraged if the ROI is not as high as expected.