Singles Day Tips and Tricks for US Merchants
With the holiday season upon us, merchants across the nation have been preparing for one of America’s most busy shopping days: Black Friday. While Black Friday is a key moment in time for merchants to rake in sales, they have the opportunity to kick off their holiday sales even earlier this year thanks to the world’s biggest shopping day — Singles’ Day, which takes place tomorrow (Nov. 11).
The Chinese shopping day, which is popular among the nation's young people and is designed to celebrate the fact that they're single, is of huge economic importance. Last year, Singles Day generated $17.8 billion USD in sales in just 24 hours. According to PayPal’s 2017 Chinese Cross-Border Shopping report, 89 percent of Chinese consumers favor the U.S. as an overseas online shopping destination, making Singles Day a huge opportunity for merchants to boost sales in cross-border trade.
To ensure that your online store capitalizes on Singles Day 2017, below are a few key tips to consider when preparing for this major shopping holiday.
Offer Free Shipping
According to the PayPal and Ipsos 2016 Global Cross-Border Commerce Report, 30 percent of China’s online cross-border shoppers are concerned about counterfeit goods, and 26 percent are deterred from shopping cross-border when they're unsure of a merchant’s return policy for shipments. To address these doubts, offer free shipping and returns.
Offer Local Payment With Ease
Did you know that when shopping cross-border, 75 percent of Chinese consumers would prefer the option to pay in local currency (i.e., their own currency)? In fact, more than half (58 percent) of shoppers polled don't feel comfortable making a purchase in a foreign currency, and chose this as a top barrier to shopping cross-border. To put customers at ease and boost sales, it's key for merchants to streamline their payment options to ensure that customers can pay in their preferred currency.
Learn the Customs
Before you decide what products to feature on your website, it's a best practice to spend some time learning about Chinese culture. For example, the top categories that Chinese shoppers purchase goods from are clothing/apparel, cosmetics/beauty products, and groceries/alcohol. You can learn more about Chinese shopping habits, customs and taboos on PayPal's free online resource, PassPort.
When selling into China, it’s simply impossible to ignore the prominence of mobile commerce, as more than 90 percent of Chinese online shoppers surveyed made a purchase via mobile in the past 12 months, accounting for 35 percent of online cross-border spend. By having your online store mobile optimized, you're opening yourself up to an even wider range of customers and opportunities to sell.
Invest in Translations
When selling to the Chinese customers, it's important to consider investing in website translation, as 64 percent of Chinese shoppers wouldn't feel comfortable making a purchase from a foreign website that's not in their own language. Merchants can localize their online stores by translating them to meet the needs of foreign markets.
Given that China is one of the fastest-growing markets, small business owners should not be intimidated by Singles Day. By thoughtfully making small changes to their business and marketing methods as well as taking advantage of the myriad resources available, merchants can easily navigate international waters and find even more success this holiday season.
Melissa O'Malley is director, global initiatives, PayPal, an online payments service.
Related story: How to Effectively Sell Cross-Border in 2018