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Driving mcommerce sales in SEA during major shopping events

11.11, on Nov. 11, 2017, has become the world’s largest shopping holiday, primarily through activating users on shopping apps. Alibaba, which invented Single’s Day in China, made it an global event this year hitting a record of USD 25 Billion in sales. JD.com followed Alibaba’s footsteps, reaching USD 19 Billion. Lazada (in which Alibaba holds a stake of 83 per cent) ignited its own Single’s Day in Southeast Asia in an attempt to increase its market share. This year, it drew USD 123 Million in sales, which is not the end. Sales are anticipated to further increase in the course of a month-long promotion period, peaking on Indonesia’s national online shopping day, Dec. 12, also started by Lazada.

Glispa, an ad tech company in Southeast Asia, carried out a study, analysing app user data from this year’s 11.11 sales in Southeast Asia. The objective of the study was to provide purchasing behavior insights and market trend observations to make future major shopping holidays such as the upcoming 12.12 sales more successful. According to the study, the average advertising spend of shopping apps is forecasted to increase between 25 per cent – 30 per cent from 11.11 to 12.12.

Also, there are two key trends that have been identified in the Southeast Asian m-commerce market from the 11.11 sales which provide a prognosis for future shopping holidays. First, during the shopping holidays, competition is increasingly dramatic in the region with new players scaling up in the m-commerce market. Second, 11.11 and 12.12 are consolidating as highly frequented shopping holidays.

Preparing app campaigns in time for the next shopping holidays
The study uncovered 4 steps that enable companies to make the most out of their app strategy during the shopping holidays in order to leverage purchasing trends and navigate through the tough competition effectively.

1. Develop all media plans before the shopping holiday. The objective should be for:

A) Companies to diversify campaigns to maximise goals and allocate budgets strategically across various campaigns

B) Create benchmarks in advance to measure against campaigns successes later on. In order to get data that serve well as points of comparison, companies need to prepare to have their apps ranking and conversion rates stabilised.

2. Run a teaser campaign for acquiring users before the shopping holiday as competition for ad placements will be lower and will gradually increase as the date approaches. The users acquired during the teaser campaign period are likely to convert into buyers later.

3. Set up special app-only promotions aligned with offline promotions and other digital channels such as PR and social media.

4. Wrap up the current shopping holiday (11.11) campaign by analysing the results from the campaign and start taking into account these results in preparation for the following shopping holiday promotions such as 12.12. Also, some advertisers sustain their post-11.11 campaign with smaller promotional efforts, for example, free shipping or cashbacks, until 12.12 when they run a larger-scaled promotion to keep the momentum going.

To conclude, there are some major trends exclusive to mobile such as consolidation of artificial seasonality and increasing competition in certain periods that have been observed. Strategy across all shopping apps are extremely different during the shopping holiday period, so it is imperative for each advertiser to establish a clear strategy to maximise the advantages of shopping holidays such as 11.11 and 12.12.

Julie Huang

As Senior Business Development Manager at Glispa Global Group, Julie Huang covers Southeast Asia (SEA) and India, working with major clients in multiple verticals across both regions.
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