Marketing lessons from China

Marketing lessons from China

We are in the middle of the golden quarter, a flurry of shopping bonanzas that kicked off with Black Friday at the end of November. But on the other side of the world, in China, retailers are recovering from the rush of Singles’ Day.

This year marked the 11thconsecutive Singles’ Day, a shopping holiday held on November 11th, where shoppers celebrate pride in being single. Similar to Black Friday, in that both holidays are an opportunity for self-gifting, Singles’ Day broke records this year, generating £23bn in sales in just 16.5 hours of trading.

There are many important lessons that UK marketers could learn from the success of Singles Day for Black Friday next year.

One key difference between the two is that Singles’ Day is generally focused on online transactions, while Black Friday caters to both the online and offline worlds.

China is a mobile-first market

When it comes to eCommerce, the Chinese market is far more mature than its UK counterpart, catering to a highly tech-savvy consumer base – China is essentially a mobile-first market.

What’s more, when preparing for Singles’ Day, Chinese retailers look to develop their offerings well in advance, knowing what products will be sold, at what discounts and to which audiences. Consumers then register their interest beforehand and complete transactions on the day.

This approach provides retailers with advance knowledge around what will be sold, with the whole process existing to facilitate flash sales more easily. Singles’ Day is all about organised selling rather than surprising consumers with discounts on one special day.

UK retailers take note

With last year’s Black Friday leading to the biggest drop in footfall since the 2008 recession, how can UK retailers learn from the huge success that is Singles’ Day?

If UK retailers are to mirror the success of Singles’ Day next Black Friday, they will need to know their customers better. From a consumer experience perspective, they need to be sure that they’re capturing insightful data about their customers’ behaviour – after all, those deal-driven consumers who purchased goods this Black Friday are likely to return next year if the deals are as good.

However, consumers will rarely visit websites they haven’t been to before on Black Friday. Instead, people will return to buy products they’ve seen previously, rather than using the discount period as an opportunity to search for new brands.

Therefore, retailers must focus on generating interest in their products well in advance of the discount day itself, backing this up by promoting products and then delivering them in a seamless manner, regardless of the channel.

A truly golden quarter

The Chinese market benefits in the sense that it has started from a digital-first infrastructure, leveraging the right data to make the most appropriate decisions. While we may never have the volume of transactions that Singles’ Day brings due to the huge difference in population, there are ultimately lessons that UK retailers can learn if they are to make good on the golden quarter.