Singles’ Day: The Origin Story

According to Investopedia, Singles’ Day started as an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration in 1993 at Nanjing University in China. While the theories are many, the most widely accepted one is that four single male students without significant others chose November 11 to celebrate being single. Since then, Single’s Day has mushroomed into the biggest online shopping day, beating out Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined. 

The Evolution of Single’s Day Sales 

Popularized by Alibaba as a 24-hour shopping event in 2009, Single’s Day sales reported modest results, with just 27 brands generating a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $7.8 million. In 2019, just a decade later, Alibaba, one of the world’s biggest eCommerce players, recorded a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $ 38.3 billion, a whopping 26% increase in 2018 sales. 

All the Single Ladies (and Guys)

With more people feeling empowered by their singleness, it’s no wonder that companies around the world quickly realized the sales and marketing potential of Single’s Day. No longer a just phenomenon constrained to China’s borders, Single’s Day has expanded to Southeast Asia and is gaining popularity around the world.

Single’s Day: A Look at the Numbers 

And with expansion of a burgeoning middle class and smartphone users globally, Single’s Day sales are on the rise. To give you a sense of how the eCommerce event has reached epic proportions, dig into these Single’s Day sales stats:  

  • The first $1 billion in sales in China were generated in just 68 seconds. 
  • In 2018 people from over 230 countries placed online shopping orders on Singles’ Day – a 2% increase in one year. 
  • In 2019, Southeast Asian eCommerce player Lazada, operating in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand, and owned by Alibaba, booked 3 million orders within the first 1 hour.
  •, Netherland’s largest eCommerce player, hopped onto the Singles’ Day sales bandwagon in 2017. It became so popular that in 2019, it turned the sale into a six-day event.
  • Swedish electronic retailer Elgiganten launched its Singles’ Day sale in 2017. It proved so profitable that by 2018, it was expanded to all Nordic countries.
  • 180,000 international retailers and brands sold to Chinese online shoppers. These brands were based out of countries such as Japan, the United States, South Korea, Australia, and Germany.

Single’s Day Sales Potential

If you’re an established brand who has participated in Single’s Day, you know first-hand the transformational power of a successful marketing campaign on this epic day of eCommerce. If you’re an up-and-coming brand, Single’s Day could amount to as much as 25% of your yearly sales. 

Single’s Day Ideas to Win Customers’ Heart

What will Single’s Day look like in 2020? This year with many economies entering recovery and with more people shopping online and mobile for the first time, you need to rethink your Single’s Day marketing campaigns to stand out in a crowded eCommerce space, fiercely vying for digital traffic. 

Singles’ Day Sales Insights

With more retailers entering the Singles’ Day sales space what’s popular in this unprecedented year may change, but here are the overall top-selling product categoriesL

  • Electronics
  • Cosmetics
  • Beauty products
  • Fashion

Here’s a high-level glance of what you need to know to win big on Single’s Day: 

Start early. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the customer. To stay ahead of the competition, Single’s Day marketing ideas and planning should include an analysis of:

  • Data and statistics. If you participated last year, what were your Single’s Day sales? Where did you do well? Where did you miss opportunities? What can you do better this time around?
  • Market trends. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and shop. What trends should you be aware of on the market? Are your customers primarily shopping on desktop or mobile? Have they gravitated to social media shopping? Are they interested in a particular product or design trend? 
  • Tech-led engagement strategies. Even the best Single’s Day marketing ideas won’t get much traction without the right technology tools and strategies backing them. Assess your tech. Where do you see gaps? Where do you see opportunities? 
  • Innovative Single’s Day marketing. The same old, same old isn’t going to cut it this year, where every day feels like one giant eCommerce sale. You’re going to need different strategies to woo new customers and keep existing customers coming back.

Singles’ Day Marketing and Sales Trends 

To prepare yourself for this year’s hyper-competitive Singles’ Day, here are a few things to remember: 

  • It’s a short shopping window period: Singles’ Day is a 24-hour event, leaving marketers with a tight selling window. 
  • Competition is stiff: As the event turns global, retailers have to come up with Singles’ Day marketing ideas that are relevant and hyper-personalized to attract and multichannel strategies to convince and convert their audiences. 
  • Mobile is becoming the shopping medium: Marketers need to get their mobile and omnichannel marketing strategy right to ensure a great customer experience on Singles’ Day.

Strategies for Standing Out on Singles’ Day 

Are you ready to break through the noise and wow consumers in a crowded market? If so, you’re ready for these 5 killer Single’s Day Marketing tips. 

#1 Convert New Online Shoppers into Repeat Customers 

COVID-19 completely changed the shopping behavior of millions of people worldwide. As lockdowns went into effect and social distancing became the norm, in-store shopping came to a grinding halt. Customers who had traditionally turned to brick-and-mortar transitioned to online and mobile shopping as a safer, more convenient option.

As a result, eCommerce companies are flush with new consumer data. Naturally, they want to make the most of it, but how can these companies convince first-time online shoppers to come back and convert into repeat business. Single’s Day is an ideal opportunity to proactively engage and nurture these buyers. 

Insider’s Solution: Architect
Repeat customers are critical for marketers, as they bring in greater Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) and Customer Lifetime Value. Insider’s Architect solution uses AI and personalization to engage buyers on their preferred channels through push notifications, emails, and targeted social media ads when they’re most likely to be online. 

Single’s Day Marketing Enhanced with AI 

Let’s consider an eCommerce grocery retailer who saw a massive uptick in orders during the COVID-19 lockdowns. With Single’s Day around the corner, they’re looking to capitalize on new business. 

With restrictions easing and local supermarkets opening their doors, the eCommerce grocer realized that many of the new customers it gained during the stay-at-home period could revert to brick-and-mortar shopping unless they acted fast. 

Not wanting to lose out on this lucrative buyer segment, the eCommerce grocer kicked off an engagement campaign to convince and convert their new cohort of online shoppers. 

The company sent push notifications with discounts, fresh foods deals, and super-fast and convenient delivery options.

Suppose the targeted user didn’t respond to these offers, using Insider’s Architect solution, the eCommerce grocer can send emails to customers who didn’t convert.

With detailed information about farm-to-table foods, convenient prepared meals, and popular household cleaners, most users are likely to react positively and land on the eCommerce grocer’s website, where they can learn more about products that promise to make their lives simpler and more convenient.

When the target customer segment arrives at the eCommerce grocer’s website, they’ll be greeted with a personalized website catering to their needs and interests. The tailor-made experience makes customers more likely to buy and boosts conversion rates for the eCommerce retailer. 

#2 Reignite the Interest of Last Season Shoppers

More and more companies are jumping on the Singles’ Day sales bandwagon, but how do marketers seeing a spike in sales on year ensure those customers come back?  

Insider Solutions:

Insider has a suite of tools that marketers can use to engage and entice users to shop:

  • Banner Management helps target first-time users by showing them banners on a web page highlighting discounts, money-back guarantees, and free shipping offers. Since Singles’ Day has a huge fan following in Asia, retailers can customize the language on the banners to add a localized personal touch to their target geographies. 
  • Push notifications: With all of today’s distractions, it’s easy to be doing one thing on your phone or on desktop and move to another. To get users to complete a transaction, marketers can send push notifications highlighting benefits like 100% secure payments or free shipping. 
  • The Exit Intent tool reads a user’s activity on a checkout page. If the tool sees that the shopper is about to bounce, it launches Insider’s Countdown Timer, a countdown clock that urges the user to take action before a deal expires. The concept behind this tool is to keep the shopper engaged on the page. 

Let’s say you’re an eCommerce beauty retailer who saw tremendous profit last year, fantastic, right? But how do you repeat (and surpass) success? How do you make sure customers come back? With a three-pronged Singles’ Day Marketing strategy. 

Strategy 1: Segment your shoppers 

Target customers who bought from you last year. Two weeks before November 11, you’ll start posting banners on your home page. These banners could inform last year’s shopper segment about Single’s Day sales and discounts. 

You can customize these banners every time a target shopper segment lands on your home page. Using insights about the user’s previous product search and purchase history, you can make more intelligent recommendations. 

Strategy 2: Nurture shoppers with notifications 

On Singles’ Day, you can use push notifications to reach users shopping on a mobile app before confirming their purchase. Marketers can appeal to users with purchasing intent with free shipping and discount notifications. On-page pop-ups with special offers like 10% off or free shipping can incentivize shoppers to buy. Countdown timers are also effective at conveying ephemeral opportunities and nudging consumers to purchase.

Strategy 3: Custom tailor your content to high-value customers

There are two main brackets of buyers: the big spenders and the deal seekers. If you’re marketing a high-value product, then targeting deal-seekers will lower your conversion rates. 

Businesses that target big spenders with their high-end product offerings see higher ROAS and profits. But how should you reach out to the big spender segment? With relevant stories. 

Insider’s Solution: InStory

With an eye on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, Insider’s InStory brings storytelling to Singles’ Day marketing. Create stories that showcase products, delight customers, and make smart recommendations in easy-to-digest snackable pieces of content. Take users from thumbnails to a fully immersive experience and gain 360 visibility into how your content is performing and driving conversions. 

Let’s imagine you’re a luxury fashion retailer. This Singles’ Day, you want to connect and engage with your top-line customers. You’re promoting must-have red leather bags using InStory. The customer clicks on a chic red satchel and sees even more curated products and content tailored to their interests. From bestsellers to celebrity product lines to influencer diaries, deliver a fun, relevant, and optimized mobile shopping experience that makes shoppers want to click ‘Add to Cart.’ 

#3 Provide Value Beyond Discounts 

Singles’ Day sales are a siren call for discount seekers, but to learn these one-time shoppers into repeat business, companies need to go beyond discounts and offer incentives that build loyalty.

Insider’s Solution: Conversion Trigger

Insider’s Conversion Trigger solution targets users who’ve made a purchase. Shoppers will see a lead capture with a special offer such as 15% off on a second purchase when they sign up for a loyalty program. Offering incentives in critical loyalty-building junctures encourages users to follow brands and come back to shop more. 

#4 Turn Singles’ Day Traffic into a Long-Term Customer Base

Data shows that Singles’ Day sales attract millions of online buyers – from first-timers to repeat customers. Naturally, a prime opportunity for retailers to capture their data, engage with them and convert them into long-term brand loyalists. Most Singles’ Day shoppers are one-time buyers who probably plan to return to shop next year. But companies can change a one-time mindset by using tools that open and nurture long-term communication across multiple channels and devices. 

Insider’s Solution: Lead Generation

Insider’s Lead Generation solution provides marketers multiple pathways to ongoing communication with Singles’ Day shoppers. When a user lands on a webpage for the first time, they enter their info into a discount form. Once filled, the visitor’s email goes into the brand’s CRM. If a marketer wants to add more interactivity to the experience, they can opt for Insider’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ gamification tool. A clever Singles’ Day marketing hack that enables users to spin and win discounts and claim them by entering their contact details. 

Want to see even bigger Singles’ Day sales?

2020 is the year of online and mobile shopping. While digital shopping trends were rippling across multiple industries, COVID-19 accelerated the rise of multichannel shopping. To win customers’ hearts this Singles’ Day, you’ll need to personalize experiences, reach out to them across multiple channels, offer them convenience, flexibility, and choice to break through the noise. 

Have any Singles’ Day Marketing tips you’d like to share with us?  Curious about how to ignite Singles’ Day sales this year? Schedule a personalized demo with our experts now!