Many online shopping platforms have already made early starts to build up anticipation with the launch of pre-sale activities. Source: Shutterstock

E-tailers up their game as Singles’ Day nears

WITH the Singles’ Day shopping bonanza just around the corner, e-tailers in China are going above and beyond to get a leg up on competitors, using flashy ads and promising promotions to entice customers.

Many online shopping platforms have already made early starts to drive up anticipation with the launch of pre-sale activities ahead of the shopping event on Nov 11. Last year, the festival produced US$18 billion in gross merchandise value in 24 hours, a US$4 billion increase from 2015.

Tmall, an online platform of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is handing out promotions on more than 15 million products from 140,000 brands in an attempt to attract customers before the big day.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the company also plans to up their social media game to provide more interactive content and entertainment.

Singles’ Day has become one of the biggest days in the online shopping calendar. Source: Shutterstock

One example of this is the organization of a catwalk show that was broadcast across several media platforms, featuring major brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Adidas.

Tmall has also introduced a system in which consumers who are interested in a product on the runway can simply shake their phones during its catwalk debut, with this action bringing up the product page on their screen.

To add to the hype, some e-commerce firms have increased their selection of overseas products available to its Chinese customers.

Amazon has said that its global store will expand its selection of products as well as speed up the logistics and delivery operations, while plans to cover more than 200 countries and regions for this year’s edition of Singles’ Day.

But despite the excitement, some of the promotions have left customers feeling frustrated, particularly those asking for down payments or that involve redeeming virtual coupons, according to China Daily.

Many e-tailers are encouraging customers to place a deposit ahead of the sale, with these deposits also functioning as a discount. For instance, a US$15 deposit would result in a US$30 discount or more when the transaction is processed on Nov 11.

On top of this, some online retailers have created an illusion of a discount by actually raising the original prices of products before making deductions.

Though the main purpose of the deposit is for sale predictions to be made in order to avoid delivery congestion, this may have a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

“These tactics have caused customer experience to suffer, deterring notably wealthier customers,” says Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of China Market Research Group.