Trending On 11.11: Experience Instead Of Price Promotions
Singles’ Day is undeniably China’s biggest e-commerce event of the year. Last year’s event totalled $17.8 billion, amassing a stunning $1.4 billion within the first seven minutes and $5 billion in the very first hour. For reference, Black Friday and Cyber Monday totalled $6.8 billion in the U.S combined. This year Singles’ day already surpassed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the first 30 minutes grossing approximately $7. Eventually shattering the previous record with an increase of 39%, totalling $25.3 billion.
Now how is it possible that the entire population of China partake in a gigantic shopping spree? To understand this, it is important to understand its history, as well as Alibaba’s clever way of creating and capitalising this event.
Singles’ Day originates from 1990 at the Nanjing University and was created by students to celebrate being single. In contrast to buying your partner a gift every holiday, Alibaba recognised the potential of China’s single population. And in 2009, turned this cultural phenomenon into the greatest e-commerce event China has seen to this day.
The enormity of Singles’ day is absolutely apparent and the staggering amounts of money are a clear indication of the ever-rising popularity of this national event. Which is why it is important to take notice to such happenings. JD.com, one of Alibaba’s main competitors followed in suit by announcing their own national holiday on the 8th of August. The 8/8 is, just like Singles Day, a meaningful day in the Chinese culture.
The creation of national holidays has been used by the Chinese market as an ‘excuse’ to celebrate and essentially spend money. Alibaba has proved that it is absolutely worth it to start identifying certain trends or popular holidays. Or even create holidays, just in order to give online consumers an extra incentive to shop and meet the demand for new experiences and information. The Dutch e-commerce platform bol.com organised their own version of Singles’ Day this year, which already resulted in the busiest and most profitable Saturday of the year.
What sets Singles’ Day in China apart is that during this year’s 11.11, Alibaba focussed more on entertainment and experience. This instead of solely focusing instead on prices or discounts. They organized a gala where superstars like Pharrell Williams and Hong Kong star Karen Mok have performed. In addition, the O2O experience proves to be more important, with pop-up stores connected to shopping festival. Virtual fitting rooms, lipstick vending machines, and more. In China, it’s all about the experience.
However outside of 11.11, the experience is very important. Research shows consumers do not only look at cheap prices, but also want surprises and guidance. If you want to get customers regularly, you need to understand your customer’s experience. Find creative ways to entertain customers. This year for instance: Alibaba organized a livestream fashion show, called “See now, buy now!”. During this campaign the consumer could buy what the models were wearing on the runway at that same moment. Creating the ultimate shopping experience.
While consumers may grow tired of over-creating these holidays’ Alibaba’s track record proves that it could be interesting to look for opportunities from a different angle. Focusing more on creating an experience, both offline and online. Traditionally holidays have proved to be a great ‘excuse’ to buy gifts and celebrate. This is also the exact reason why this event has been doing so well. An entirely new holiday was created. With enormous amounts of consumers buying, in order to celebrate. For this reason alone, It’s worth keeping an eye on this event, as it is inevitable that we will soon see more of this phenomenon in the West too.