Many retailers will be familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two days across a long weekend in November where heavy discounts and special promotions whip consumers the world over into a spending frenzy. But many online merchants—especially those with independent brands—realize that the 12:12 sales present another significant opportunity in the Asian markets.
Sometimes known as Doubles Day or Couples day, 12:12 is officially held on December 12 every year and promotes shopping with small businesses. The event has taken off across Asia in recent years, and even retailers further afield are cashing in by reaching customers across the continent. But what exactly is Doubles Day, and how can retailers benefit from it? Here, we’ll answer all your questions so that you're ready to make the most of this significant sales event in December.
12:12 is an increasingly popular sales event that began in China and usually runs several days before and after December 12 each year. It was created in 2012 as a way for Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to promote the smaller retailers on its many platforms—especially Taobao—allowing them another chance to woo consumers they might have missed during the 11:11 sales the month before. Initially, the sales were pushed through Alibaba’s e-wallet, AliPay, which is more accessible for small businesses. Now, though, many platforms and payment gateways are involved.
Much like Cyber Monday, online retailers use steep discounts and generous promotions to entice customers to participate in 12:12 shopping and make last-minute purchases in the lead-up to the holiday season.
Although Doubles Day shopping originated in China, many international markets have jumped on the bandwagon. Now, online retailers from Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, France, and the US are seizing the opportunity to reach the over 500 million customers that now participate in the 12:12 sales each year.
For consumers and retailers alike, the rush of 12:12 shopping represents significant opportunities. Shoppers have the chance to score great deals just ahead of the Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays, both of which are peak periods for gift-giving.
Doubles Day is an excellent opportunity for online retailers to get rid of extra inventory and turn a healthy profit before the end of the year. Perhaps more importantly, it's a way for independent retailers and small businesses to reach customers who might not ordinarily come across their brands. Of course, since 12:12 happens online, it’s a major moment for digital retailers.
Customers indulging in Double 12 shopping will be looking for more than just a great product and a good brand. They want to see big discounts and attractive promotions and will shop around for the best deal. This will mean different things to each merchant, so it’s important to consider who your customers are and what they want. For example, if your online store specializes in toys, then you might think about including a small gift and free shipping. On the other hand, if you specialize in high-value products—like jewelry, for example—a significant price drop might be a better strategy.
Because the 12:12 sales happen amidst the holiday rush, you might also consider offering things that customers might find valuable during this period. For example, expedited shipping will ensure they receive their orders in time for Christmas Day. Festive items might be more attractive for the season, and customers will appreciate gift wrapping for those purchases made as presents.
Each merchant or ecommerce platform creates their own 12:12 offers in line with their goals for the event. Major retailers will, of course, have an advantage in being able to offer a good deal, but smaller, independent retailers can find plenty of ways to encourage conversions. Here are a few promotions different companies provided during the 2020 Doubles Day event.
The Doubles Day event has gained significant importance in recent years, and many retailers in Asia now participate to make more sales ahead of the holidays.
Major Asian ecommerce platforms do brisk business on December 12, including Lazada, Shopee, ShopBack, Taobao, Qoo10, and Zalora, all of which sell products from major brands and independent labels. However, many big international brands also cater to the local Asian markets with attractive offers. Harvey Norman, Microsoft, ASOS, and Sephora have all put out their own 12:12 offers in recent years.
Ready to capitalize on this unique pre-holiday shopping frenzy in Asia? You’ll need a carefully planned execution strategy to help you make the most of it. Here are a few tips.
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