One of the biggest market days in the world today started as a festival for single students at a university in China to celebrate their status. It’s easy to see why the students at Nanjing University chose the day 11.11 to mark their being single: The solitary numbers. And it rivals any other major shopping day in the world.
The date fits well with a Chinese expression for a single person translating to “bare branches”. But don’t be fooled: This is the most fruitful day for both consumers who enjoy steep discounts of up to 95% on their purchases, and for brands that enjoy selling to these eager customers.
This yearly shopping event has been the epitome of China’s retail market since Alibaba saw its potential more than a decade ago. But that doesn’t mean retailers should focus only on Asian audiences.
As we can see below, although they do over-index for #SinglesDay when compared with what the general Twitter population is talking about, there’s a significant Hispanic audience over-indexing as well. And we see most #SinglesDay posts coming from other ethnicities regardless, including Caucasian and African American.
About Singles Day
For a brief 24-hour window every year, consumers from across China – and an increasing number of other regions – can cross items off of their wishlists by taking advantage of the great deals offered not just by Alibaba but close to 300,000 more brands.
While it has been recording rising numbers in the years prior to COVID-19, it remains to be seen how Singles Day will perform this year. Coming out of the pandemic, 2021 outperformed 2020 numbers. However, this was the slowest growth rate since its inception in 2009.
With the renewal of COVID-19 restrictions, food crisis, and slow economy in China, participating brands are jittery. But using data to understand consumer behavior, they can obtain the power to not only predict but also bolster their sales.
Understanding Consumer Behavior
Understanding consumer behavior is key to winning the 2022 Singles Day. By profiling their target consumer, brands will be able to identify their target market amidst the frenzy, determine what it needs, and supply the demand, all of which will translate to increased sales.
The key to understanding consumer behavior is consumer data which must be collected and analyzed to yield actionable intelligence. Traditionally, this process takes more time than brands have before 11.11.22. Alibaba, the flag bearer of Singles Day, has announced that it will start this year’s event in late October.
If you planned to participate in this year’s festival but suddenly find yourself out of time, it will do well for you to turn to modern methods of consumer data collection and interpretation to help you prepare for the next one!
First, recognize that the internet is a hub of information about your target market. Not only that, but with the right tools this information can be obtained literally overnight.
In particular, social listening is an effective technique when you need consumer data quickly. In a nutshell, it is the process of gathering relevant social media conversations based on specific topics, locations, or any other filter.
This results in high quality data that can be processed to provide reliable intel about the consumer. This intel includes details about your target demographics’ features beyond ethnicity, such as age, location, interests, etc.
To understand consumer drivers – i.e. what motivates their behavior – this information must be further broken down to reveal deeper features in their attitudes, opinions, and actions.
This is where NLP sentiment analysis comes in to decode the hidden emotions behind consumer conversations. It breaks down natural human speech then analyzes and aggregates sentiment which is crucial to understanding consumer behavior and predicting action.
Sentiment analysis breaks down social media posts to decode the emotional content.
The process is fully automatic with AI doing the heavy lifting for human analysts who are best suited for the interpretation of the data and decision making.
Top Singles Day Campaigns
Alibaba has completely mastered Singles Day to the point of making the sales made on this single day by this single platform the measure of China’s retail market. But this is not just because the company is so closely associated with the holiday.
The brand innovates its strategy in line with changing market conditions. What started as a single day celebration has over time been turned into a two-week carnival. According to Chris Tung, Alibaba’s CMO, this is a response to consumer feedback.
Other brands have used Alibaba’s playbook as well as lessons from other holidays to make Singles Day a successful event. For instance, beauty brand L’Oreal uses a combination of strategies to encourage customers to spend on its products.
First, it offers limited edition coupons which lucky buyers can use to get significant discounts on their purchases.
Second is the inflated discount technique. The company allows customers to make deposits in advance which they can use to buy during the event. Not only that but the amount is inflated to let customers buy more than their money’s worth e.g. a $100 deposit may be bumped up to $120.
Michael Kors takes an alternative but equally innovative approach to lure consumers. The brand has created within WeChat a casino themed mini-game where customers can play to unlock discount codes. There is also a shoppable blog post that allows consumers to go directly into the online store and place orders.
Other brands that have used innovation to draw customers into their discount offers include Nike, Philips, and Uniqlo.
These and other brands that reap big from the event have studied their customers to come up with innovative ways to appeal to their behavior drivers.
Ways Brands Should Plan for the Next Holiday
Every year more brands join the list of participants in the Singles Day event. Before entering the fray, it is important to have a game plan. There is great potential for success but there is also a likelihood of failure when brands don’t understand their target market.
To prepare, gather all the relevant consumer data and analyze it to discover what you might not know about your target market. This data comes from your own internal systems and external sources.
Internally, you have CRM and probably offline data that tells you of your own customers. But you need other data to know what is motivating the wider consumer space to increase potential revenue. This should be integrated into a single platform where it is analyzed holistically.
With social media monitoring, you can keep track of the consumer conversation as the event approaches to refine your strategy based on developments in consumer needs and expectations.
Additionally, conduct social media competitive intelligence to identify your competition and monitor its activities. This makes sure that your efforts are not undercut by unforeseen competitor moves. As you may have noticed, the winners focus on not just innovating but making their innovations stand out.
Social media competitive intelligence ensures you are not blindsided.
Singles Day is a great illustration of the fact that understanding consumer behavior is at the heart of brand health.
Healthy strong brands make use of the vast amounts of available information about the consumer and market to not only study the target customer as in a lab but more importantly, to deepen their relationship with engagement, great service, and useful products.
Having the right tools can make all the difference between the brands that accomplish that and those that only set goals. The NetBase Quid® platform is designed to be the centerpiece for your marketing strategy.
As the ground shifts much more rapidly today than in the past, only tools based on the most advanced AI technology can guarantee you the results you need to survive in the market.
If you reach out for a demo today, we can show you how NetBase Quid® works on its own as a full-service platform, and in conjunction with over 3,000 third-party platforms and tools.