Spring Festival–often recognized in the U.S. by the name ‘Chinese New Year’—is a growing opportunity for brands. Between the rise of online shopping and the spreading popularity of the week-long celebration, we’ve seen staggering revenue increases for brands who invest.
Traditionally marked with shopping—as buying new items is seen as an embodiment of a brand-new start in the new year—Spring Festival is an important period for brands. Top selling products vary from festive food, seasonal flowers and accessories, to clothes, furniture, and electric appliances.
Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, usually falls between late January and mid-February, aligning with the start of the Chinese Lunar calendar. What you might not realize about Spring Festival is that this week-long holiday is growing into a promising ecommerce opportunity, comparable to Singles’ Day.
This year, Pattern has leveraged its expertise on local marketplaces, such as Tmall and JD.com, to take advantage of the changing Chinese New Year shopping behaviour, helping some of its brand partners achieve 500% year-over-year sales growth during the period.
During the Chinese New Year, historical retail sales rose for more than a decade until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. The pandemic disrupted not only the country’s economy, but also a traditional custom of the Chinese—those who move from the countryside to cities for livelihood returning to their hometown during the Spring Festival to reunite with families. The Chinese government called for its people to stay put during the festival's celebrations to fight the pandemic, resulting in less need to buy festive foods and gifts. That is, until ecommerce saved the day.
At the Spring Festival in 2021, while still adhering to the stay-put call, the Chinese government joined hands with some local online marketplaces and logistics companies to initiate an online Spring Festival shopping event that ran for 30 days and eventually brought in RMB 906 billion (USD 140.2 billion). As a benchmark, the 2021 Single’s Day raked around RMB 965 billion (USD 152 billion) in sales value. These encouraging results rallied the administration and business community together to create the second edition of the month-long shopping event for 2022’s Spring Festival.
Driven by the government-business joint effort, physical retail sales during the 2021 Spring Festival period also saw a noticeable rebound, as official data shows that total revenue made by key companies in the retail and catering categories stood at RMB 821 billion (USD 127.1 billion) during the 2021 Spring Festival, rising 28.7% year over year and 4.9% higher than pre-pandemic sales in 2019.
The growth momentum continued in the 2022 Spring Festival. During the first five days of the Spring Festival holiday, the People's Bank of China’s clearinghouse platform processed online payment transactions worth RMB 4.2 trillion (USD 660.3 billion), rising 11.6% year-over-year. Leading Chinese marketplace JD.com also announced that its turnover during the first six days of the holiday increased by more than 50% year over year.
Before the pandemic, China's logistics and express delivery sectors tended to grind to a halt during the Spring Festival week, so orders were expected to be dispatched more than a week before the holiday. Things changed since 2021, as industry players started responding to the government’s call to provide “non-stop” fulfilment services during the period to enable Chinese shoppers to “stay put, buy online.”
The effort yielded a remarkable result, as official data showed China's postal industry collected and delivered a total of 660 million parcels during the 2021 Spring Festival week, which was a 260% increase on a year-over-year basis. During the 2022 Spring Festival week, we even saw some 749 million parcels being handled by the country’s delivery sector, as Chinese marketplaces have worked with logistic operators to ramp up the scale of non-stop fulfilment services.
While Chinese marketplaces still reserve this non-stop fulfilment service to the most highly competitive brands on their platforms, Pattern has helped our partners secure this offer. Thanks to the fulfilment advantage at this Spring Festival, we saw some of our partners yield exciting results of more than 500% in sales growth compared with the same period last year.
Thanks to the convenience of the ecommerce ecosystem, the hottest selling items are getting more and more diversified. For example, in 2021 Alibaba found that the sales for floor-sweeping robots, window cleaning robots, and floor washing machines increased by 100%, 300% and 1,800% respectively, year-over-year, as younger shoppers often bought such gadgets as a gift for parents.
Another observation is regarding the synergy between Spring Festival and other significant holidays or events happening in the period. The 2022 Spring Festival week coincided with the Winter Olympics in Beijing, resulting in sales of ice sports gear and ski equipment on Tmall increasing by 300% and 180% respectively, year-over-year. In 2021, Valentine’s Day fell in the middle of the Spring Festival week. and JD.com observed that the demand for jewellery, beauty, watches, and other gifts rose significantly during this period. For example, the amount of women’s karat gold necklaces and yellow gold pendants sold increased 6.2 times compared with the same period in the previous year.
To exploit the thriving opportunity from Spring Festival, brands need to have a strong team of industry experts in the local market to stand out from the stiff competition from local and overseas players.
Pattern can accelerate your marketplace business around the world—we partner with brands through a unique model where we purchase our partner’s stock and sell it for them on online marketplaces, such as Tmall, JD.com, Lazada, Amazon, Shopee, Coupang and eBay.
Not only is Pattern in the top 5% of authorized Tmall Trade Partners, we also have boots on the ground. Pattern has a local team in China providing brand partners with a comprehensive service that help them protect their brand, drive growth, and scale distribution.
Interested in tackling the Chinese ecommerce opportunity? Get in touch and learn what we can do for your brand.
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Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.
And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.
Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.
Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.
Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.
Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.)
To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.
Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.
Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.
Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers.
The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:
Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);
Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).
To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging.
Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place.
It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.
Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.
It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.
By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.
Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.
Pattern’s Accelerate22 event, the global ecommerce acceleration summit, provided a way for participants to learn from each other and leading experts about building a successful ecommerce presence. During our Brand Control and Compliance track, Leslie Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting and an Amazon expert, spoke to attendees about “Bezophobia”—the fear of losing brand control on Amazon. She talked about the importance of having a clear strategy to help you perform your best on the digital marketplace and the fact that achieving that is much harder to do in a 1P Amazon relationship.
With better control, which is more achievable in a 3P relationship, brands can let go of their fears and more richly enjoy the inherent benefits of selling on Amazon. If you think you could have a case of Bezophobia, read below for three important areas every brand should have control over when selling on Amazon.
Pricing is a huge concern for brands selling on Amazon—in most cases, Amazon prioritizes their customers’ happiness and providing a great experience for them on the platform over brands’ best interests. So, they want to offer their customers the best price available at all times.
This seems harmless enough until a rogue or unauthorized seller enters the ecommerce space. They’d like to capture your consumers’ interest as well, and often list your products at a lower price than you’d authorize. When Amazon notices the change, whether on its platform or on another, they drop your listing price to match.
Many brands seriously struggle to raise their prices after events like this occur, leading to what we call the Profitability Death Spiral. As your product prices fall, it’ll be harder and harder to raise them again, especially if you’re operating with Amazon as a 1P seller.
At Pattern, we know brands can’t achieve marketplace acceleration without brand control. So, we partner with econtrol firm VORYs to allow all brand partners to better understand their distribution channels and how to address control problems that ultimately lead to pricing issues.
The next key area of control brands should be focused on is their product selection on Amazon. Leslie spoke about this being a common issue for brands—as mentioned above, Amazon doesn’t see your brand as its top priority.
Many brands provide a certain assortment of their products to Amazon to sell, then find that their expectations don’t match Amazon’s efforts. Leslie has worked with many brands that have believed that Amazon will list, market, and move product the way a brand would if they were managing their Amazon presence themselves.
But, in a 1P relationship, it’s difficult to get true visibility into what’s really going on. If Amazon buys your products without putting the effort in to represent your product selection in the way you think, it can cause big, long-term issues that are very difficult for brands to reconcile.
In Leslie’s experience, this is a brand’s most important area to have control over on Amazon. Your ability to sell products is completely dependent on how you’re able to showcase those products through your content. And, in a 1P relationship, brands lose the ability to have the final say over how their products appear to consumers.
Leslie has seen many cases of brands’ sales dropping inexplicably, only for them to discover that their vendor has made significant changes to product detail pages and other marketing materials, such that they no longer reflect the brand.
Pattern understands how important your brand representation is on digital marketplaces like Amazon. So, when we agree to partner with brands, we provide a suite of creative services to help your products look their best, including a studio team for fully-optimized pictures and videos and an expert advertising team that knows how to write descriptions and copy that really help your products stand out among the competition.
If you’re able to get ahead and get in control of your Amazon strategy, especially in your pricing, selection, and marketing efforts, you have no need to fear the digital marketplace. As an Amazon expert and ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows what it takes for brands to truly succeed, and is committed to helping all brands take charge of their strategy to achieve long-term success.
Set up a call to talk more about Amazon and ways Pattern can help you make the platform work better for you.