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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day 2020 Saw a Record-Breaking Turnout

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day set a new record in sales this year. Learn what factors are attributed to the online retailers’ success to fuel your Q4 strategy and long-term brand growth. By Catherine Ibarra November 13, 2020

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is the world’s largest shopping event, surpassing the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined each year. Singles’ Day this year had two shopping windows: Nov. 1–3 and Nov. 11. The event reached a new benchmark with over $74 billion in sales, up 26% from last year.

Singles’ Day, which is traditionally on Nov. 11, began as an informal holiday in China to celebrate single people — in opposition to Valentine’s Day. Alibaba’s CEO, Jack Ma, launched an online shopping event based on Singles’ Day and it became highly successful.

Alibaba has created a more engaging shopping event over the years to improve the customer experience. Learn about the features Alibaba has implemented to optimize your brand strategy this holiday season and long-term.

Special Promotions and Vouchers

Adding special promotions and vouchers to existing shopping event discounts offer a greater purchase incentive, especially during a highly competitive Q4. The additional product deals can be more personalized for consumers and leverage items to support a brand initiative.

Alibaba is known for its special deals. This year, the retailer has offered consumers special promotions and vouchers whenever they purchase items from a small business during Singles’ Day. Small businesses have suffered significant financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative helped companies that are currently recovering their business.

Exclusive Product Launches

Exclusive launches offer consumers a huge motivation to visit e-marketplaces and is proven to increase sales during Singles’ Day. Partnerships with celebrities and huge brands are the driving force behind its success. Offering early access to products is also a key component.

Taylor Swift recently launched her new Folklore album merchandise exclusively with Tmall (owned by Alibaba). The singer is selling her line of products in China for a limited time before expanding to global markets. Additionally, the Jordan brand utilized the Singles’ Day event to create their own Air Jordan 6 WMNS “Singles Day” sneaker. The new Air Jordan 6 has been released in Asia and Europe, and will launch in the United States on Nov. 25.

Virtual Entertainment

Special appearances by celebrities on Singles’ Day have driven consumers to shop. However, due to safety precautions amid the pandemic, virtual entertainment has taken its place. The functionality of video entertainment keeps consumers engaged and increases event participation.

The huge retailer has previously invited celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Mariah Carey, and Pharrell Williams to make appearances on Singles’ Day. This year, the company switched to a virtual entertainment alternative. Alibaba showcased livestreamed fashion shows and pre-event galas. The successful retailer, as well as its competitors (, Pinduoduo, and Suning), established partnerships to broadcast their shows on TV and online.

Innovative Technology

Incorporating innovative technology provides consumers an interactive shopping experience and will differentiate retailers from their competitors. Retail tech enables brands to reach greater lengths in the services they offer consumers, like providing virtual reality (VR) shopping, augmented reality (AR) games, and more.

Alibaba came out with their own AR game, Catch the Cat, a few years ago. The Catch the Cat app resembles the popular Pokemon-Go app. The game features a virtual cat that leads shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores. Players are able to collect points at each participating retail store while shopping. This year, a new version of the game was released with more customization and interactive features.

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About the Author

Catherine Ibarra is a marketing consultant at Feedvisor, where she contributes to the company's content marketing initiatives. She has a technology background.

Final Thoughts

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day success is attributed to a variety of factors, which include its special deals, exclusive launches, entertainment events (in-person and virtual), interactive experiences, and more. Considering the features the company provides in addition to its shopping event, it is no surprise that it is dominating the retail market.

Incorporating the features Alibaba provides or offering similar incentives can help grow your brand. There are immediate strategies that can be leveraged, like special promotions and vouchers, for your upcoming holiday sales. The rest of the benefits can be planned, executed, and rolled out for future shopping events.

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