Tech Bytes: Three ways to succeed on Singles’ Day — even if it’s half a world away
Black Friday weekend is just around the corner. But as retailers remained focused on one-day sales, exclusive sneak peeks and door busters, they are missing the boat on a much more lucrative opportunity — Singles’ Day.
Singles Day, coming up on Nov. 11, started in the early 1990s as an informal celebration of the Chinese singles dating scene. But in 2009 Chinese online giant Alibaba adopted the day and turned it into a shopping extravaganza, launching a massive marketing push with special deals. Since then, Singles’ Day has morphed into the largest e-commerce shopping day in the world, with tens of thousands brands, including an ever-increasing number from the U.S., all selling merchandise, some at steep discounts.
Alibaba generated $14.3 billion (U.S. dollars) in 2015 — completely eclipsing the combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. Fung Global Retail & Technology expects Singles’ Day this year to reach $20 billion (U.S. dollars), a stunning 40% year-over-year increase.
Singles Day is yet another example of why companies must be flexible enough to find new ways to compete in the evolving omnichannel retailing model — especially as more nimble adversaries and business opportunities emerge.
Unsure of how to participate in this particular industry disruptor? The following tips may be just enough to drive Singles’ Day success — even from across the globe:
Focus on personalization. Capitalizing on the hype of Singles’ Day is all about making offerings meaningful to individuals. While this is a tough task, especially among a new international customer base, retailers can start small. The event originally catered to singletons, so understanding the unique habits and preferences of “single customers” is a good start. This is especially important as more shoppers under the age of 25 feel overlooked by brands — on what they consider “their” shopping event, no less — in favor of “mature shoppers,” according to a report from AdMaster. Another option is to personalize digital promotions to better target the single’s segment. Both efforts are a good way to speak exclusively to the younger shopper.
Bolster inventory management efforts. Besides creating relevant merchandise assortments and communications, retailers must stay abreast of featured inventory availability — not an easy task when targeting an entirely new customer segment, and an international one, at that. Access to real-time inventory data is a pre-requisite when serving all omnichannel shoppers — regardless of the touchpoint they use or their country of origin. That said, ensure that e-commerce, mobile touch-points, even local retail stores and customer call centers all use a centralized, advanced inventory management system that focuses on one inventory file.
Deliver exceptional fulfillment. International shipping remains a challenge for many brands, and Singles’ Day shoppers are taking notice. In fact, less-than-optimal logistics is persuading 25% of shoppers to skip this year’s shopping event altogether, AdMaster said. That’s why the timing couldn’t be better to tap existing cross-border brand presences and third-party shipping or logistics partnerships — especially as a means of leveraging local inventories, and creating distribution models that get merchandise into international shoppers’ hands more efficiently and cost-effectively.
In an era when deep discounts and other holiday “gimmicks” continue to erode the value and tradition of Black Friday, retailers need to rebuild brand excitement during the holidays. This requires companies to look outside of the box — and the comfort of domestic borders — if they want to reinvent themselves in this increasingly omnichannel landscape.
Saks Fifth Avenue unveils a sweet holiday theme, along with some special services
Saks Fifth Avenue is transforming its stores into a candy wonderland for the holidays.
The retailer’s holiday theme this year is called “Land of 1000 Delights” and it will appear in all 41 Saks’ full-priced stores in the U.S. and Canada. Jumbo swirl lollipops, whipped cotton candy and mounds of rock candy are just some of the colorful décor that will make up each store’s visual displays.
Saks will unveil its iconic animated holiday windows at its New York flagship on Monday, Nov. 21 (presented by MasterCard) when it will debut a new multicolored, 10-story-tall theatrical light show on the front façade of the building. The windows, light show and colorful candy décor will live in store and online throughout the holiday season.
“Land of 1000 Delights is truly a candy-colored wonderland — one of the most fantastical holiday displays that I have ever seen,” said Mark Briggs, executive VP, creative, HBC.
As part of the flagship’s holiday promotion, customers can take a spin on the MasterCard “Wheel of Delights” on the ninth floor from Nov. 21 through Dec. 24 to spin the wheel for the chance to win special prizes.
In addition to the New York flagship’s six animated windows on Fifth Avenue, Saks will display a series of “candy couture” dresses in the windows on 49th and 50th Streets. Each lavish dress, created by a notable designer, will be evocative of a favorite holiday treat, including cotton candy, peppermint sticks, and cake frosting.
New this holiday season, members of the SaksFirst rewards program can use their points to purchase one-of-a-kind gift packages and exclusive experiences starring some of fashion’s biggest names. Experiences include an exclusive tour of Brunello Cucinelli’s headquarters in Solomeo, Italy; backstage passes to a Proenza Schouler fashion show; and a Paris shoe experience at Christian Louboutin’s workshop. Valued from $5,000 to $100,000, the experiences are redeemable only via SaksFirst points.
Also new this year, on the first three Saturdays in December from 12 to 5 p.m. local time, select Saks locations (New York, Beverly Hills, Bal Harbour, Houston) will offer customers Santa At Your Service. Santa Claus himself will deliver customers’ in-store purchases directly to their homes, hotels or offices via the Saks At Your Service Mercedes-Benz sprinter van.
Consumer electronics giant takes products direct to consumers in unusual pop-up
LG Electronics is taking its LG Signature brand on the road, opening a pop-up at Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, California, Nov. 8 through Nov. 13.
The LG Signature Gallery concept was officially launched in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center earlier this fall. Similar to the New York City concept, the LG Signature pop-up structure on the West Coast is created entirely of LED panels on all four sides.
The panels play unique content to make the Gallery appear as if it is transparent, allowing consumers to see through the structure from one side to the other.
The interior showcases five premium LG Signature products: a 2.57 millimeters thin OLED television; a sleek refrigerator with a door-in-door; a new black stainless steel washer and white all-in-one washer/dryer unit, and an intuitive air purifier.
"The (Signature) line of products is designed to provide a state-of-the-art living experience that feels pure, sophisticated and luxurious, and we're thrilled to introduce the products directly to Los Angeles-based consumers,” said David VanderWaal, VP of marketing, LG Electronics USA.