Getting Ready for Singles’ Day 2015: Best Practices for eCommerce Merchants

Getting Ready for Singles’ Day 2015: Best Practices for eCommerce Merchants

The record-breaking success of Singles’ Day underscores the importance of online sales events for Asia-facing retailers. But as more and more merchants aim to make their mark in the world’s most lucrative online shopping holiday, brands should incorporate a number of best practices to help stand out from the crowd.

There’s no denying the sheer size and success of Singles’ Day. The Alibaba-invented online shopping event jumped 60% in sales revenue in 2014, bringing in a record-breaking $9.3 billion USD[1] across an estimated 27,000 merchants and 42,000 brands[2].

But as the success and popularity of Singles’ Day continues, the increasingly crowded Asia Pacific marketplace is making it that much more difficult to leverage on simple price cuts. In the previous entry of our Singles’ Day Series, we talked about what learnings we could take away from the successes of 2014. In this article, we’ll be discussing what best practices brands and retailers can implement in order to stand out and make the most of Singles’ Day 2015.

Integrate Both Social and Mobile Strategies for Effect

Businesses selling online should never discount the potential of either social commerce or mobile commerce, both of which will undoubtedly have a large presence come Singles’ Day. This is especially so for the former in Asia Pacific, the region being home to some of the world’s most social media-savvy markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Read more about APAC social commerce here.

mCommerce is also gaining ground among Asia Pacific’s online shoppers. Visa’s 2015 Regional eCommerce Monitor Survey[3] reported a 22% increase from 2014 in respondents using their mobiles to shop. With smartphones and tablets catching up with laptops and desktops, no retailers can afford to overlook mCommerce best practices such as mobile optimization and pricing strategies catering to on-the-go consumers.

Think Global But Act Local

Visa’s survey also highlighted a growing trend in Asia Pacific consumers leaning towards cross-border eCommerce. Singapore, Australia & Hong Kong, and New Zealand lead with 77%, 75%, and 74% of consumers willing to shop cross-border – compared to the regional average of 55%.

This underscores the fact that, as shoppers become increasingly comfortable with ordering and paying online, many will look for brands and products not available locally – and expect the whole experience to be as seamless and convenient as in their local market. Retailers preparing for events like Singles’ Day should therefore pay special attention to localization and global delivery services well in advance, in order to tap this rich and burgeoning opportunity.

Increase Conversion Rates with Better Delivery Options

Conversion rates are, unsurprisingly, one of the most tracked statistics when it comes to shopping online. But converting visitors into paying customers takes more than just a few aggressive price cuts on shopping holidays like Singles’ Day. Another effective way of increasing conversion is by offering better delivery options. Due to the fragmented nature of the Asia Pacific marketplace, customers come from a wide variety of demographics and locales, each demanding a different set of delivery requirements. By providing convenient, trustworthy, and flexible delivery options, your brand is able to offer further incentive for customers to convert[4].

At the heart of this strategy is to address your customer’s needs at a local level. Rather than provide a general delivery solution to customers who have varied delivery preferences, present solutions that allow delivery to your customers at work, at home, and at the time and place of their choosing. In the case of SingPost, we provide our Singaporean clients with access to 24/7 parcel lockers which can be used as pick-up and drop-off points, accessible at their leisure. We also support our clients in offering pick up and returns from retail stores.

These measures not only help increase conversion rates during Singles’ Day, but help build a consumer base that remains loyal long after the shopping holiday is over.

Implement a Customer-Focused Returns Policy

ue to increased global competition and an industry-wide drive to establish trust among eCommerce-wary consumers, returns policies are quickly being adopted by online retailers across Asia Pacific[5]. Although the promotion of a returns policy may seem counter-intuitive, a satisfied customer has the potential of becoming a long-term brand advocate.

During high-traffic seasons such as Singles’ Day, the influx of new customers will normally come with its own fair share of returned items. But to encourage these customers to remain loyal into the future, it is critical to provide a returns policy that encourages customers to shop at their leisure. Learn more about returns best practices here.

Establish Trust by Implementing Secure and Efficient Payment Processing

One of the most evident deterrents to the growth of eCommerce is the lack of trust and security around online transactions[6]. This why proper and secure payment processing is critical.

An estimated $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts in 2015[7]. Abandoned shopping carts can be attributed to a number of different reasons, but conversion experts attribute the lack of trust and credibility to be among the chief motivations behind them.[8] In the case of SingPost, we ensure the quality, efficiency and security of our payment processes by partnering with payment providers such as CyberSource Visa.

Incorporating these best practices come Singles’ Day may be a challenge in itself. But it’ll allow you to direct your company towards a successful and lucrative Singles’ Day 2015.

 

About the Author

Marcelo Wesseler, CEO of SingPost eCommerce

Marcelo leads the eCommerce business unit for SingPost. He has more than 15 years of international experience in global eCommerce businesses and held senior management positions at KPMG Consulting, Hewlett Packard in the US, and RS Components. Prior to joining SingPost in 2012, Marcelo implemented businesses like hpshopping.com, sonystyle.com, mini.com, china.rs-online.com to name a few. Follow Marcelo on Linked

 


SOURCES

[1] Multichannel Merchant – http://multichannelmerchant.com/must-reads/5-tips-growing-global-ecommerce-28052015/

[2] Tech Crunch – http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/10/alibaba-makes-strong-start-to-singles-day-shopping-bonanza-with-2b-of-goods-sold-in-first-hour/

[3] EnterpriseInnovation.Net – http://enterpriseinnovation.net/article/m-commerce-gaining-ground-apac-936541414

[4] Spark eCommerce – http://www.sparkecommerce.com/4-ways-to-increase-ecommerce-conversions-with-delivery-options/

[5] SP eCommerce – http://www.specommerce.com/returns-right-6-best-practices-ecommerce-asia-pacific/

[6] Demac Media – http://www.demacmedia.com/ecommerce-strategy/2015-ecommerce-trends/

[7] Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-retailers-can-reduce-shopping-cart-abandonment-and-recoup-billions-of-dollars-in-lost-sales-2014-4

[8] Shopify – https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/44272899-how-to-reduce-shopping-cart-abandonment-by-optimizing-the-checkout