It’s no secret that most of China’s shopping takes place online via marketplaces such as Tmall Global, JD.com and more. Spanning from anywhere between 24 hours to several weeks, shopping festivals such as Singles’ Day – or Double 11 Festival - have become a prominent part of any brands’ China ecommerce trading calendar.
Singles’ Day festival is the biggest 24-hour online shopping festival in the world and originated in China. Taking place on 11th November each year, the shopping event has broken sales figure records each year since its birth and is often likened to Black Friday in the US despite their differences.
November 11th (Double 11) was nominated by students in 1993 as a day to celebrate singledom or “anti-Valentine’s Day” in China. 11.11 was selected thanks to the symbolic nature of the number one where shoppers were encouraged to be proud of their single relationship status whilst treating themselves to a special purchase.
Alibaba spotted an opportunity to leverage this event turning Singles’ Day into a national shopping holiday. They first held the mass-scale shopping festival in 2009 in collaboration with a handful of brands and it was an immediate success with Chinese shoppers. Total GMV on the Singles’ Day 2009 reached around US$7.8 million, surpassing the average daily GMV that year by almost seven-fold.
Singles’ Day or Double 11 Festival has grown to become an unmatched opportunity for international brands to engage with loyal customers, develop new and dedicated product launches, plus an important way to gain consumer insights.
Blurring the lines between shopping and entertainment, shopping platforms and social media platforms alike adopt increased elements of social commerce and promotions into their offerings. Alibaba have been known to build up excitement for the shopping event with new site or app features which remain guarded until the grand reveal on Double 11 itself. Livestreaming and gamification with the use of influencers or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) have become increasingly popular methods of driving brand awareness and boosting demand generation on marketplaces.
Pattern’s Greater China team announced record-breaking results for its Tmall Trade Partner business over the 2020 Double 11 Shopping Festival, demonstrating the resilience of the Chinese economy through the pandemic, and the continued demand for international brands by Chinese consumers.
Tmall stores managed by Pattern grew their sales by an average of 91% year-on-year across the 11 days of 11.11 trading in 2020. In addition, every one of the brands we represent on Tmall achieved sales in the first 11 days of November 2020 that were greater than their Tmall sales for the whole of November 2019. In addition, several of the American brands that we represent in China achieved 11.11 sales that were up more than 200% year-on-year.
They say that timing is everything, and this is certainly true when considering your annual promotional calendar on Tmall in China. For the majority of brands selling on Tmall, the biggest trading peak will occur around the Singles’ Day and brands can expect to make 30% of the total yearly revenue in the month leading up to November 11th.
The graph below shows an example of Tmall trading cadence across the year for international brands and demonstrates how each peak gets larger throughout the year, in the run-up to Double 11. These other important promotional trading periods, shown on our trading calendar should be used to test promotions and establish credibility with customers and Tmall.
Many international brands fail to realise that it is invitation-only to participate with an official Tmall promotion; one that the marketplace with signpost and drive traffic to. Your performance in the main promotional periods earlier in the year will determine whether you are invited to participate in Tmall’s official Double 11 activity.
Not only this, Chinese consumers expect to see the biggest discounts and special offers for Double 11, so ensure you keep your best offers for then. The biggest deals are focused on the day itself, but pre-ordering and showcasing of deals start up to a month before and many brands carry on promotions until November 12th or 13th.
The results from Double 11 Festival in 2020 proves that China continues to be a lucrative land of opportunity for brands who have invested to develop a strong brand awareness and localised proposition. Promotional planning for Singles’ Day now begins increasingly far in advance for international brands and should be an important part of your trading strategy.
Our General Manager for Asia Arthur Cheung explains: “Our data-driven approach to trading on Tmall, working in close partnership with the brands we represent, ensures that we optimise our 11.11 trading and marketing campaigns. This has resulted in another strong year of growth that we aim to capitalise further on in 2021.”
Pattern are a Tmall 5* Trade Partner, and provide full-service support on everything from market entry strategy, Tmall Flagship Store set-up and the ongoing operation, marketing and trading of your Tmall store.
We also act as a Trade Partner for JD.com, WeChat, Pinduoduo and Koala. For brands looking for a wider presence across Asia Pacific, we can support your launch on Lazada, Coupang, Shopee and Amazon.jp.
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A top issue we see with brands struggling on ecommerce marketplaces is a loss of brand control due to disjointed sellers—those that aren't following your brand policies and guidelines when selling your products online. Disjointed sellers can be gray market, unauthorized, and rogue sellers, as well as 3P and other sellers that are noncompliant with your branding, pricing, and other forms of representation online.
It can be very easy for brands to lose control of their ecommerce strategy when they can’t get a handle on disjointed sellers. Typically, these brands are either stuck in a game of whack-a-mole or just ignoring the warning signs of bigger issues and hoping for the best. But, when disjointed selling isn't handled right, the consequences can be devastating to profitability. A loss of brand control doesn’t happen overnight, and the factors that contribute to it are long-standing.
Before the advent of ecommerce, brands favored a wide distribution. It was the easiest way to get products to as many distributors as possible. But wide distribution, when left unchecked, leads to leaky distribution—allowing your excess products to end up in the hands of unwanted sellers.
So brands that continue to operate with a wide distribution strategy are losing brand control and are damaging their brand equity and product performance. Why? You’re unable to monitor your products’ pricing, performance, or quality. You can’t dictate how you’re represented by each seller, creating an inconsistent and false representation of your brand to your new and existing consumers. These issues often lead to poor reviews and erode opportunities to build trust with future customers.
In today’s ecommerce landscape, marketplaces and digital platforms connect people and sellers to make online shopping simple and seamless. They also provide customers complete price transparency. Google, for instance, allows consumers to access any of your products on virtually every ecommerce channel and retail location and posts them side-by-side for you to comparison shop.
Now, everyone from your D2C distributors to large marketplace sellers, legitimate 3P sellers, and rogue and unauthorized sellers are on a level playing field—they’re all presented to the searching consumer, and that consumer has the purchase power.
Disjointed sellers have just as much power and authority to represent your brand as you do, without the same quality, pricing strategy, and customer focus as you.
In most shopping scenarios, consumers will choose to purchase a product from whichever seller offers the lowest price. Marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart know this, and optimize their product selection based on all retail offers to serve consumers the lowest price for the same item.
This means that as one seller drops the price of your product, the next will follow, and then the next, etc. Everyone gains access to the product at or below MSRP. This opens the door for unauthorized sellers to purchase inventory during promotions or at discounted prices and then turn around and sell the same product slightly below competing sellers’ prices—for profit.
As customers search for your product, they notice the cheaper price and purchase from the unauthorized seller, rather than paying the price you’ve established with your retail teams. Simultaneously, as Amazon monitors their product listing against other available channels, they notice they don’t have the lowest price. So Amazon, and other marketplaces, in service of the consumer, drop their price to match the lower price offered by an unauthorized seller. To stay competitive, your other channels follow suit. The cycle, also know as the profitability death spiral, continues to drive down the price of your product, grinding away your margins and profitability.
This doesn’t sound like much of a problem if your brand isn’t actively selling on ecommerce marketplaces, right? Unfortunately, it causes big issues for your brick-and-mortar sales, too. Large retail chains like Best Buy and Macy’s noticed this potential loss of sales from ecommerce and needed to defend and protect their profit. Retailers started telling brands that, in order to keep their products in-store (which accounts for 80% of most brands’ sales) they would need to lower their prices to match online prices. Which led to the concept of price matching. If a customer could prove the price of a product was lower somewhere else, Best Buy would match the lower price and charge the brand for the difference.
As other brick-and-mortar retailers jumped on the trend, brands started to see large losses in their margins.
The danger that disjointed sellers pose to brands is enormous—without a way to control all of a brand’s distribution points on ecommerce, your brand spins farther and farther down the profitability death spiral. Using custom technology and data-driven insights, Pattern can identify disjointed and unauthorized sellers for your brand and develop a custom strategy tailored to your specific needs to address these big issues as soon as possible. Then, Pattern partners with the econtrol law firm, VORYs, to enforce take downs and save brands who find themselves caught on any stage of the death spiral.
With the right resources and expert help, we’ve helped hundreds of brands to regain their footing and control on ecommerce, win the buy box, and grow their sales.
Contact us today to regain your brand control.
Since most brands only sell about 20% of their products online, it’s common for executives to turn a blind eye to their poor ecommerce performance—issues there are probably a small problem, right? But if you can pinpoint the lackluster ecommerce profitability to poorly-performing listings, then you can take care of issues now that would snowball to greater losses as your brand grows.
As an expert in ecommerce and the world’s foremost ecommerce accelerator, Pattern has unparalleled expertise in managing brands across global marketplaces. Partnering with Pattern gives you access to data, technology, and top teams across multiple disciplines that help you prioritize great product listings in your overall ecommerce strategy and provides the resources to improve underperforming listings.
We've highlighted three ways poor listings impact your Amazon marketplace performance.
If your listings aren’t optimized for SEO and strategic ad placement, they will not be found by customers. And if your products aren’t found, your traffic, conversions, and overall profitability drop significantly. Pattern’s Amazon data and trends suggest that only the top four products listed in an Amazon search result drive more engagement with a brand's listing. So, optimizing your products for organic discoverability needs to be a priority for your ecommerce efforts.
Typically brands find it tempting to underestimate the power of SEO and paid ads, but the stakes are too high to ignore their impact for long. To put it into perspective, Amazon’s ads are clicked 42% more often than Google ads. And, the data shows when people search for products, 74% of them search Amazon first.
Another reason Amazon search is so valuable is because of where your consumers are in their buying journey. Ads on social media and Google can be valuable, but on Amazon, you have the advantage of knowing your audience’s search intent. Appearing in front of consumers wanting and ready to buy a product that aligns with their search query is a huge opportunity that you can’t miss.
So, you need to be putting the right resources into creating and testing your listing titles, product descriptions, search filters, and backend search terms. (We’ve listed some of the best practices for brands here.) As you find what works, Amazon’s algorithm will be able to better identify your products and serve them in front of consumers ready to buy.
Pattern’s expert SEO teams know the best practices and how to optimize your product listings for the right audiences to improve your rankings for better traffic and conversion wherever you sell your products online.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of brand affinity on ecommerce marketplaces. One of the key reasons you should be establishing a strong brand presence is to build a consumer base of loyal, repeat customers.
Repeat purchases from repeat customers are a true sign of a healthy, thriving brand. And when you can establish a great relationship and deep trust with the people you’re selling to, you’ll naturally build positive momentum with their reviews and word of mouth endorsements. In short, it’s easier to reduce buying friction, the cost of conversion, and the cost of acquisition with people who already have an enthusiastic opinion of your products, leading to more conversions and overall success for your brand.
Clearly, it’s valuable to find your brand advocates, but how do your listings help you do that? The first is by claiming the buy box.
Many brands struggle with disjointed sellers—3P sellers who have acquired your products, (for example—after buying them on deep discount) and now “pose” as your brand to sell those products to consumers. They often sell your products below their MAP price in order to claim the buy box, attracting more traffic and conversions.
As those customers are drawn to those listings instead of yours, they experience a disconnect in what they normally associate with your brand—often, the copy, media, and even the grammar are ignored for profitability for unauthorized sellers. They often focus on keyword stuffing and quick turnaround to capture traffic and end up poorly representing your brand.
Issues like losing the buy box can hurt your brand long-term, especially if 3P sellers are selling returned, damaged, or fake products in your name. When you have a true understanding of how to optimize your product listings to outperform your competition, you can win the buy box and reclaim your brand presence for your repeat and future customers to ensure better long-term success.
Pattern knows the dangers of disjointed sellers leading to poor brand representation. We have both legal partnerships and listing optimization strategies at our disposal that are proven to help you get ahead of disingenuous sellers and reclaim your brand’s presence wherever you sell online.
In order to achieve long-term profitability and growth on ecommerce marketplaces, it’s important to keep your conversion rates as high as possible. Pattern’s experts have found that a low conversion rate signals to Amazon your products aren’t worth showing to customers, significantly lowering your sales potential. But a great conversion rate helps improve your organic rankings and raises your ROI for paid ads—making it easier and less expensive to sell your products in the long run.
So, how do listings affect your conversion rates? Consumers searching for products on Amazon are more likely to purchase from a brand they trust. And without being able to physically sample your product, they have a short window with limited information to decide whether or not they’ll purchase from you.
We know from extensive data analysis and research there are a few key components of your listing that help in building trust with your consumers. One of those components is the quality of your images.
If your images are blurry or you only post 1 or 2, customers will have a hard time understanding what your product is and its potential value to them. So, they’ll keep searching instead of purchasing your product. Things like the images’ lighting, background, the quality of your equipment, and your editing process shouldn’t be left up to chance.
Partnering with an ecommerce product photography expert is a way to make sure you get the best photography for your products, and your images are optimized for both your brand and your marketplace.
When it comes to optimizing your ecommerce strategy, Pattern has all of the resources you need to achieve long-term profitability. Not only do we have the data and technology to analyze a brand's current performance and opportunity on marketplaces, Pattern has all of the necessary teams to optimize your success from end to end. As the world’s top ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows the key drivers for boosting listings, conversions, and profitability for brands.
Ready to improve your product listings? Contact us.