How retailers can capitalize on Singles Day sales

Laveta Brigham

We’re just under a fortnight away from Singles Day, the biggest shopping event on the planet. And competition for consumer attention, and more importantly their cash, is fiercer than ever, as customers search out the best deals. What started out as an anti-Valentine celebration in China now generates twice the […]

We’re just under a fortnight away from Singles Day, the biggest shopping event on the planet. And competition for consumer attention, and more importantly their cash, is fiercer than ever, as customers search out the best deals.

What started out as an anti-Valentine celebration in China now generates twice the combined revenue of Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday in the US.

Singles Day has traditionally been an e-commerce event, with retailers saving the biggest discounts for online. But in recent years, both retailers and brands have realized the importance of connecting their physical and online shopping experiences, as consumer habits evolve. Whether it be people researching products online before making the purchase in-store or buying online for in-store collection, the lines between online and offline sales continue to blur. So, for retail marketers, extending their 11:11 promotions to physical stores is just one part of delivering a seamless customer experience this year.

While some consumers prefer the instant nature of online shopping, seeing a product in store is immeasurably more compelling and enjoyable than browsing websites. And the reality is most of us do both. These aren’t binary segments of people – and marketers are increasingly adapting to this fluid consumer.

With careful planning, brick and mortar retailers can take a double bite of the apple, attracting digital savvy-shoppers to their online stores, while pulling in more spend from shoppers who prefer the full retail experience. So how are retail marketers using advertising to maximize their sales in-store as well as online?

The first step is to understand and segment your existing audience ahead of time. Overlaying audience data is one easy way to identify Singles Day shoppers. Location data should also form part of your strategy. Identify areas within an easy walk or drive time to your store location and make those a priority for the campaign. You can also identify the areas with a higher affinity for your store – with people more likely to make a visit than an average. These might be particularly affluent areas, or areas where people are likely to commute past your store. Knowing these areas means you can more efficiently target your digital advertising, but also offers invaluable insight into where to plan your traditional media activations such as OOH.

Start early. Consumers start evaluating and comparing products way ahead of promotion event days. Build up the momentum with a phased approach to your campaign. Begin the first weeks by building the awareness of the offers that will be available in store. Tease any products on your website but highlight any additional discounts that might be happening in store on the day. High-impact, interactive formats are likely to generate strong interest in the weeks leading up to the sale. During the week of the sale, switch focus to a drive-to-store campaign. Make sure your messaging is clear, and the call to action encourages consumers to visit your store location. Use dynamic creatives and location data to show your potential customer their nearest stores and a map of how to get there.

Make it personal. Activate this data with personalized ads based on your prospects’ location, demographics or known product interests.

Consider an omnichannel approach. Combining digital and offline/DOOH media helps to drive consumers to a physical point of sale. In a joint campaign between JCDecaux and S4M for H&M Singapore, shoppers were found to take 3 days to visit the store after seeing the ad, so begin your omnichannel campaign at least the week before Singles Day. Using similar creative units will make your campaign more impactful and establishes consistency between your messaging (as well as saving your budget).

E-commerce giants might steal the headlines, but really, it’s traditional brick and mortar retailers who have the edge. Capturing both online and in-store dollars is the key to a successful Singles Day.

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