How to Win at Double Eleven: the online battleground of social commerce

Now 10 years on, the carnival of online shopping that is Singles Day (aka the Double Eleven Festival) has rewritten the rules of consumer e-commerce, retail platform development, user experience, brand marketing, and logistics. At this new milestone, what can we expect to see this year and what approaches are we going to adopt over the next decade of social commerce evolution? Here are my top five lessons to learn…

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1. Embrace the full spectrum of the WeMedia ecosystem.
During the Double Eleven Festival it is hard to ignore the conversion rate of traffic into sales that social media influencers can deliver. But the rising cost of generating traffic in this way is causing anxiety among brands. As marketing budgets become increasingly concentrated within the top media and influencer channels, attention is now turning toward opportunities presented by lesser known channels. Collaborating with emerging high-potential influencers to create interesting social sharing mechanisms can help increase sales volumes in a more cost-effective way. Also, looking beyond traditional WeMedia channels, new social media platforms such as Douyin and Xiaohongshu have amassed large numbers of young followers. These channels, and their indigenous influencers, offer an opportunity to capture supplemental traffic.

2. Prioritize long-term connections with consumers over single transactions.
Brands invest significant amounts of time and money in developing promotions that hit big sales volumes. But it is easier (and cheaper) to retain and nurture an existing customer than find a new one. The adoption of social CRM lowers the barriers to managing customer relationships. Brands can now collect, manage, analyze, and apply consumer data through AMP (audience management platforms) to turn sales transactions during the Double Eleven Festival into a long-term marketing journey that extends the lifetime value of customers.

3. Drive more efficient conversion using audience segmentation.
For both leader and challenger brands in any given category, the crucial point of the Double Eleven Festival is to increase their share of that category and achieve faster growth compared to previous years. During the Festival brands tend to focus on prospecting for new customers; but the transaction process also involves reuniting with old ones. By segmenting consumer groups at each stage in the sales journey (awareness – intent – purchase – loyalty), and targeting each group with personalized storytelling and content at the right frequency, brands can stimulate the potential desire to purchase and repeat purchase. So, when the Double Eleven Festival comes back around in 2019, be prepared to harvest your social CRM data to achieve a more efficient conversion of traffic to transaction. Combining big data with analytical science and inspired creative is the magic formula to winning during Double Eleven.

4. Think with a New Retail mindset by linking online and offline channels.
When compared to the high cost of converting traffic to transactions online, the advantages of offline retail are self-evident. The new offline stores being built following the New Retail model are a significant upgrade from what came before. Smart retailers are beginning to leverage their best-selling products during Double Eleven as a hook to encourage consumers to move from online to offline stores and to convert more sales in categories that require an offline experience before consumers commit to the purchase. In an era where virtually everyone carries a smartphone, social sharing mechanisms, LBS (location based services), coupons, and other tools can be used to encourage the switch to offline. Consumers willing to interact with a brand offline establish stronger emotional links with the brand.

5. Upgrade your marketing efforts with AI.
Now considered the peak trading period for many brands in terms of sales volume, humans alone are no longer capable of handling the huge numbers of transactions seen during Double Eleven. AI drives improvements in business efficiency by instantly combining tens of thousands of creative materials while customer service robots answer the majority of consumer questions. Through machine learning, robots can replace marketers in doing repetitive work, which allows them to focus on higher value strategic and creative development. At a time when other industries are still wondering how to apply AI, it has already created new work patterns in the field of marketing, freeing up human practitioners from painstaking operational work.