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The Power of 618 Shopping Festival

The 618 shopping festival in China holds great importance to Chinese customers. It strongly shows the influences that the consumer culture and tradition of China intertwined with the phenomenon of e-commerce have on the general population of the mainland, as much as to create a proper shopping festival celebrated from the 1st to the 18th of June every year.

June is the month of festivities in China. Throughout the month, indeed, a series of important recurrences could be found. On 6.1, the first of June, China celebrates Children’s Day during which famous local and foreign brands implement real marketing strategies to profit from the celebration positively. On 6.6, the sixth of June falls the RED Little Red Book Anniversary during which the social media platform promotes sales, special offers and promotions to celebrate its creation day and month. Taobao also joins the 6.6 with a series of must-have limited promos. But the 6.18 is the real star of June.

The Origins of the 618 Festival

This commercial and consumerist festivity, the 6.18, was born in 2010 when JD.com., the Tencent e-commerce platform (the holding company of the famous WeChat app), decided to celebrate its “birthday” (June 18th) using the idea of an extraordinary festival. From the 1st to the 18th of June many e-commerce and social platforms adhere to the festival policy promoting special offers and sales. None of the giants of online shopping want to lose the profitable chances offered by this nationally celebrated event. JD.com, Taobao, Tmall, Suning and Secoo, all stand against each other while trying to make the best offer to the consumers.

This festival was primarily created to boost sales online and in local stores of every genre of products from fashion to technology and electronics and, then, all the way up to the luxury market. It became popular thanks to the offered possibility of stocking up on favourite products or trying out new items. Today it also involves cultural activities to promote engagements between sellers and buyers. It could be the perfect moment to indulge in some retail therapy.

During the pandemic outburst of COVID-19 in 2020 this event reached its peak because of the impossibility of leaving homes to do local shopping. Brands have since then implemented their presence online, on social media and e-commerce platforms, in order to promote their products and boost sales. Foreign brands also must focus on strategic measures to ensure their success in the Chinese market.

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List of the most popular e-commerce platforms in China. Photo: Long Advisory.

The Festival’s Strong Points

The festival has a great impact on the e-commerce industry in China and every single iteration and engagement during this period can further boost the relationship between brands and consumers, maximise sales and expand the community of customers.

To better understand how this event works and why it is both important and successful it is crucial to analyse some peculiar features and activities linked with the national celebration, also with the aim of preparing other local and foreign brands for next year’s celebration.

Strategic Marketing Operations

High focus on promotional campaigns:

During this period brands are highly focused on creating catching advertisements while implementing their marketing and e-commerce strategies in order to reach the largest amount of consumers on different platforms.

The importance of exclusive deals:

Brands must succeed in grasping the attention and curiosity of customers with sales and massive discounts on popular products. With the right competitive price, brands will be able to generate higher revenues and, as a consequence, engagements.

Live streaming and partnership as weapons:

When consumers find products sponsored on social media they are generally more inclined to try the product and, thus, buy it. If these products are also promoted by KOL, key opinion leaders, like influencers, actors or in general VIPs then success is almost guaranteed. Moreover, live streaming has become a fundamental tool to be used during the festival period. It, indeed, creates a real-time engagement with consumers and customers while the product is been showcased and presented (often by influencers and VIPs themselves).

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The role of influencers is detrimental for brands success during the shopping festival. Photo: Long Advisory.

Sales everywhere:

During the 618 shopping festival, consumers must stay focused on fetching the most convenient and cheap sales on the e-commerce platforms. June is the period during which online shopping reaches record-breaking peaks, also thanks to flash sales. As a matter of fact, the 618 shopping festival presents consumers with limited quantities of high-demanded products which are offered at the lowest prices on the market, but just for a restricted amount of time. Consumers must be quick if they want to secure the best deal on the market.

Simple is better:

In order to guarantee linear and simple strategic research and the best possible shopping experience e-commerce platforms make sure to simplify platform rules and live-streaming processes while also creating detailed but easy-handled product lists to enhance customers’ experience.

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June is the best period to make online shopping on e-commerce platforms. Photo: Long Advisory.

Luxury Market During 618 Festival

The luxury market is one of the most trending fields during the 618 shopping festival. Young Chinese in the under 26 range are more eager to buy luxury products and the desire for the last has increased at least 50%. That is why national shopping festivals like the 618 could be fundamental for local but especially foreign luxury brands to succeed in the Chinese market. Flash sales and massive offers are to be strategically used to increase engagement and interest in luxury brands, thus creating future customers and consumers which will enlarge brand revenues and influence in the mainland.

As a matter of fact, e-commerce platforms gather not only users from first and second-tier cities but also from smaller and urban areas. As a consequence, more and more Chinese people have come to know foreign luxury brands which they are eager to buy from. Fashion and electronic luxury brands are the most popular on e-commerce platforms.

Key Figures of the 618 Shopping Festival

Even though the national shopping festival is an event that every e-commerce platform could consider as fundamental for their market expansion and strategic boost of consumers and revenues, there surely are certain online platforms that are utilized more than others.

JD.Com.

JD.com. has been created in 1998 and is one of the most important and largest e-commerce platforms in China. The selection of goods that can be found and bought on this online platform is quite vast and extends from electronics to fashion and luxury products. JD.com. is surely the major force and “attraction” of the 618 shopping festival.

Taobao

Managed by the Alibaba group, this e-commerce platform was born a few years after JD.com., in 2003, but as the latest, it is known for its wide range of products. It has the implemented feature of allowing individual and small businesses and companies to sell their products on the online platform.

Tmall

This platform is also run by the Alibaba group and is one of the most famous online shopping markets which has a crucial role in the 618 festival. Unlike Taobao, Tmall is precisely focused on selling luxury brands’ products together with goods from famous brand names and authorized sellers and retailers.

Pinduoduo

It is one of the new entries in the e-commerce market, but since its launch in 2015, it has increasingly gained popularity among consumers and users of online shopping platforms. The peculiar feature of this online site is that it offers “group buying deals”. This strategy could be used to ensure new customers in the future because consumers are urged to ask family and friends to engage in group purchasing.

Never-Ending Growth

The 618 shopping festival holds a special place for e-commerce platforms. It has, indeed, helped online shopping site and apps to grow exponentially in the last few years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic when online shopping has reached unprecedented peaks.

E-Commerce platforms have increased in incomes, revenues, popularity and influence thanks to the 618 shopping festival. Photo: Long Advisory.

How Brands Should Exploit This Power

It is clear now that the 618 Shopping Festival holds great power in the Chinese e-commerce market and in general in the local industry. Foreign brands which want to enter the local Chinese market or are eager to expand and strengthen their radius of influence should without a doubt exploit the power of this national event.

Successful brands have redefined and, consequently, reset their market strategies so that they can better penetrate the local Chinese industry soil. In this period of “revenge shopping” when consumers are starting to buy again, it is crucial to study the more effective way to grasp Chinese attention, especially younger generations (Millenials and Gen-Zers).

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What should brands do in order to be successful in China?

Campaigns to promote sales and unmissable opportunities should be effective and innovative

The importance of marketing campaigns is surely the first parameter to take into account. As the 618 shopping festival is a peculiar Chinese national event, brands (foreign in particular) must focus on creating a customised campaign specifically aimed at promoting sales and engaging more customers, also exploiting the cultural factor.

Attention to flash sales and special products and bundles tailor-made for the event

As the 618 shopping festival focuses on sales and massive opportunities not to be missed, it is crucial to use the event to promote exclusive products which could attract the interest of consumers or mega bundles whose intent is to tempt users to invite more customers to make purchases.

Create the right amount of hype before the actual event

It is widely known that much of the success that events and festivals have is due largely to the hype previously created. Using live streams together with partnerships and collaborations with influencers and VIPs in general, giving hints or releasing small trailers about the imminent festival and all the products related to it can make the interest grow bigger and let the customers thrill with anticipation.

Expand the usage of personalized recommendations

Personalized recommendations are successfully used by brands to leverage data analytics in order to gain insights into consumer preferences and subsequently expand their influence on the e-commerce market. This information allows brands to offer tailored recommendations during festivals, enhancing the overall shopping experience and increasing the likelihood of converting potential customers.

Never forget to provide a seamless customer experience

In order to provide a seamless customer experience, prosperous brands prioritize efficiency from initial product consultation throughout all the checkout and delivery experiences. By investing in robust logistics infrastructure, these brands are able to manage high order volumes effectively and ensure timely deliveries under all circumstances.

While approaching a festival or a holiday season customers will be much more eager to buy with the implementation of the option of value-added services

During the holiday season, successful brands often provide value-added services such as extended warranties, complimentary shipping, hassle-free returns, and exclusive discounts on future purchases. These services serve as incentives to attract customers and cultivate brand loyalty.

Last but not least it is crucial to enhance and value the seller-customer relationship, also via social media and promotional campaigns

Engaging with customers is a key aspect of successful brands during shopping festivals. Utilizing social media interactions, responsive customer service, and interactive games or contests, these brands build a sense of community around their products and encourage repeat purchases.

Photo: Long Advisory.

Brands should remember to follow these simple “rules” in order to gain customers and followers and thus enhance their whole experience in the Chinese market and industry.

Long Advisory digital marketing agency in China

Long Advisory supports Western companies in China through digital marketing. In fact, our experience has led us to believe that today, the best and most convenient approach to making your brand well-known in China is through a digital approach. Furthermore, thanks to our know-how, we know how to make your brand known to potential Chinese consumers. With the effective coordination of Long Advisory, your company will see a new rise in the largest market in the world: China.

Long Advisory is a digital marketing agency specializing in developing digital marketing solutions tailored for the Chinese market. 

Interested in expanding your brand in China? Contact us for more info and details at info@longadvisory.eu

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