6 Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales on Double 12: the Shopping Holiday after Alibaba’s Double 11
Did you miss your opportunity to join the Double 11 e-commerce shopping fiesta? Don’t worry! There is one final e-commerce holiday of the year to clear your inventory.
What is Double 12?
Double 12 grew out of Singles Day, which is very much the dominant sales date in China, but important for advertisers perhaps with lower budgets than the mainstream brands who dominate Singles Day. Double 12 gives smaller brands a chance to get cut through in terms of advertising visibility.
And though it currently lags behind the more famous “11/11” and “6/18” festivals, expected growth in 12/12 sales have led many businesses to take serious note, as the event has quickly grown to become the third most prominent holiday in China’s promotional calendar.
Double Twelve typically sees upwards of 500 million customers participating in the event that lasts from December 8th until 12th.
What does this mean for Western Brands?
Double 12 favours mid-sized brands, so you don’t need to be a Pepsi or a Nike to gain traction during 12/12.
Some brands also tie 12/12 with 11/11, as a second wave of promotions, all part of a centralised strategy, that leads up to Chinese New Year which falls on 25th January 2020.
6 Successful Marketing Strategies for Double 12
Part 1: Prepare for Alibaba’s Double 12
1. Preparation for 12/12 - Reputation & Credibility Management
Chinese consumers tend to do quite a lot of research before making a purchase online. In the months leading up to Double 12, you should ensure that your company has a positive brand image to foster trust among users.
A negative reputation on the Chinese internet can severely hinder your sales potential, so take the steps necessary to improve your ratings, reviews, and mentions across search, social media, and in the news.
Brands with no reputation at all need get to work on building social proof and building their brand to help Chinese customers make their decisions.
Simply putting out a few press releases or working with a few trustworthy KOLs can put your brand in a positive light and prevent any negative information from putting a damper on your sales. If there’s no information about your brand on the Chinese internet shooting off a press release or two can at least ensure that there’s some information about your brand in Baidu search results.
While this kind of marketing might not be the most exciting as it’s unlikely to directly drive sales on its own, it’s an important step to making sure that there are no barriers to purchasing for your target audience.
2. Preparation for 12/12 - Perfect Your Product Descriptions
If you’re familiar with Chinese E-Commerce you already likely know that product descriptions in China are incredibly long
Chinese consumers are by nature very distrustful and typically spend long periods of time in the consideration stage of the buyer journey. Chinese consumers want to be sure they are getting value for their money and are not buying something that doesn’t live up to its promises.
It’s due to this reason that most brands create extremely detailed and thorough product descriptions on E-commerce marketplaces to ensure that the answer to every question a potential customer might have is readily available. Having it available at the point of purchase also results in an increased chance of conversion.
While you might think your product descriptions are adequate, make sure you check out your competition to ensure you’re not lagging behind. It seems in the world of Chinese E-commerce that there’s seriously no such thing as TOO much detail when it comes to product descriptions.
Part 2: How to Drive Sales During Double 12
3. Flaunt Those Discounts!
This is one of the most common strategies for promoting your deals during the Double 12 festival. Most brands begin showing off their deals for the holiday nearly a month in advance to build excitement and get customers thinking about purchasing.
While this tactic has been around for decades, it’s still one of the best ways to show the potential savings a user can receive if they purchase during the Double 12 holiday. Brands both big and small take advantage of this tactic to create urgency and show users how much the product normally sells for.
Showing the before and after price can be done in a number of different ways. Many brands choose to use digital advertisements to showcase their discounts while others simply keep it on their product descriptions. Depending on the price sensitivity of your target audience this can be an incredibly effective method for boosting sales during the Double 12 holiday.
This simple method extremely effective because Chinese consumers have the tendency to make impulse purchases during the holiday.
While Chinese are traditionally research-driven in their purchasing behavior, large discounts encourage users to make impulse decisions for trial purchases.
4 . Offering Discounts in Exchange for Pre-Orders
Another method that’s become incredibly popular in recent years is a focus on pre-ordering. As mentioned previously, brands often begin displaying their discounts and promotions for the Double 12 holiday nearly a month in advance. For 2018, pre-orders on T-Mall became available on October 20th, giving users nearly 3 weeks to pre-order their desired items.
Since brands are already releasing this information quite early, it makes sense that they would begin to accept pre-orders. To further encourage this behavior many brands now provide additional discounts to customers who choose to pre-order before the arrival of Double 12.
This not only helps brands to lock in sales early, but it also helps them to forecast their sales volume and make preparations accordingly. According to Nielsen China, offering discounts in exchange for pre-orders is the 2nd most popular method for promotion during the Double 12 holiday.
One brand that took advantage of this strategy was L’Oreal. L’Oreal allowed users to deposit money in advance and receive coupons with greater value during the Double 11 event. For example, users who deposited 50 RMB were given 70 RMB to spend during the Double 12 event. Customers who had deposited money into this scheme were also given a chance to win free gifts through lucky draws, further encouraging users to deposit money in advance.
5. Coupons, Coupons, and More Coupons
Coupons are incredibly popular across all Chinese e-commerce channels; however, this is taken to an extreme during the Double 12 holiday. Nearly every brand issues coupons for use during the period, however, a few have been trying new tactics with some success in recent years.
One of the more recent trends in terms of coupons for the Double 12 holiday is brands not simply issuing coupons for free but selling them for later use. Many brands sell these coupons for an absurdly cheap price (e.g. RMB 0.5), as once users have taken the steps to purchase a coupon, they are more likely to actually use it and make a purchase.
Through selling coupons for use during Double 12, brands can make more accurate predictions and forecasts for their sales volume during the holiday allowing them to prepare and ensure that they have adequate stock to meet consumer demand.
6. KOL Influencers and Targeted Advertising to Leverage Social Media
In China’s fragmented internet market social media is king. Brands all across China leverage social media to build awareness, drive sales, and promote their offerings.
A successful Double Twelve campaign uses of targeted advertising. With thousands upon thousands of brands competing for sales on the same day, selective and intentional digital advertising can help separate a brand from the pack. China’s wealth of available consumer data means that, armed with the right information, targeting the right demographic to increase sales is well within the realm of possibility.
Additionally, while not unique to Double Twelve, leveraging the right Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) can be yet another way for a brand to distinguish itself from the competition. Sponsoring or creating a promotional partnership with a KOL — who range from socialites to columnists to photo bloggers — has become a way of life for successful brands in China.
The ultimate goal of using social media is to find your target customers where they are. Brands should promote their offerings across various social media platforms and forums to reach out to their target audience in a way that shows they understand their audience.
As with any digital marketing push, it needs to be planned. Think integration, using multiple channels for maximum traction, tying in activity with a Chinese web site, RED, TikTok (Douyin), WeChat and Weibo, as well as Taobao.
Activity should be mobile-first, given that the vast majority of web use in China is via mobile. So all tactics need to be clearly executed on the hand set.
So, if you’re still thinking about Double 12 or 12/12 as a massive sale and a chance to clear inventory, we’d love to work with you and our KOLs to get your e-commerce operations in China roaring to life.
Have any Questions? Comment below and we can answer your questions.
ChinaKOL is a company that helps companies increase their social media presence in China. Check out our website at: https://www.chinakolexperts.com