The first event that comes to mind when we speak of global shopping events is, easily, Black Friday. But few know that there is a shopping event even bigger than that. International Singles’ Day, also known as Double 11, or 11.11 or Bachelor’s Day is currently the single largest event in the world—over double the size Black Friday and Cyber Monday put together.
Known to have first been celebrated in universities in the 1990s by single men, Singles’ Awareness Day has grown immensely popular with unmarried people all over China treating themselves to presents. This cultural movement is steadily gaining traction all over the world as well and is now a popular livestream e-commerce festival.
Set in motion by the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, Singles’ Day shopping festival made the company a whopping $115 billion dollars in sales in 2020. According to 9News, over 250,000 brands were a part of the event, with 5 million online retailers offering 16 million products to customers. The typical 24-hour online sale was extended to 11 days, reporting about 200,000,000 global transactions.
Strict regulations and a renewed focus on sustainability
Needless to say, Singles Day 2021 will have shoppers flocking in huge numbers as well. But this year will look nothing like the last as Alibaba announces its shift in focus to sustainability and promotion of ‘common prosperity’. Alibaba’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Tung, mentioned the company’s shift in focus from pure Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) growth to a sustainable growth.
The Chinese multinational technology giant, along with other companies running the show, has taken a formal stand to promote sustainable development and inclusiveness. While big discounts will dominate the market and livestream stars will grace the screens, a shift in priorities that encourage eco-friendly consumption and support vulnerable communities will be seen.
Trends likely to drive Singles’ Day sales
For the last few years, there has been an increased focus on sustainability in the retail sector. A growing number of customers want to truly make a difference and are becoming careful about their purchases. Supply chain transparency and low-emission transportation are some of the many emerging trends that retailers are adopting to stay ahead of the game.
A study by Harvard Business Review in 2019 found that products that were marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than those that were not. Some other emerging trends that can drive this year’s Singles’ Day Sales include:
- More visibility and transparency in supply chains: The modern consumer wants to know all there is to know about the product they are buying. Everything from raw material sourcing, to production to the impact of logistics and supply chain of the said product on the environment. Factory audits, CO2 reporting on the supply chain, and compliance with regulations are some of the ways in which visibility can be ensured.
- Continued spending on wellness: The wellness industry has seen a boom since the pandemic. Consumers shut out of gyms, health studios and doctors’ offices took matters in their own hands by turning to the wellness industry. Health has proved to be the key area of focus in adjusting to the ‘new normal’ and the surge in spending, especially in cosmetics and personal care products is expected to continue.
- Environment-friendly shipping and logistics: A company’s logistics and shipping emissions are said to be four times higher than its own operations. By enabling sustainability from raw materials sourcing to the last mile delivery, and creating and sustaining greener supply chains, businesses can greatly impact the environment.
The Logistics of Singles’ Day 2021: Powered by Locus
By adopting sound logistics and supply chain management systems, businesses can track, measure and optimize their energy consumption and implement green logistics initiatives. Transportation in last mile delivery is the energy-intensive leg of the supply chain that can be optimized to speed up the delivery process, bring more visibility to supply chains, as well as reduce costs greatly.
DispatchIQ is Locus’ AI-driven delivery route optimization solution that plans daily dispatches by intelligent clubbing of orders. The geocoding engine simplifies even the most complex addresses that helps in creating optimal routes.
TrackIQ, Locus’ fleet management system comes with advanced fleet tracking and insights, so both the delivery business and the customer are provided with real-time Expected Time of Delivery (ETA), predictive alerts and real-time insights.
The Locus On The Road (LOTR) app can be used by on-ground delivery staff to map addresses, track order information, route schedules and navigate smoothly.
To plan for the long haul, businesses can optimize delivery networks with Locus’ NodeIQ. The solution has a highly intuitive network optimization interface that not just optimizes the physical flow of goods from point A to point B, but carries out strategic network designing for both distribution and delivery options. Its Digital Twin feature creates a virtual replica of the real world supply chain and creates ‘what if’ scenarios to prepare for contingencies in the real world.
According to a survey conducted by Bain & Company, 95% of respondents said they intended to take part in the event again in 2021. 52% also said they were planning to spend more than last year, even with a renewed focus on sustainability. While many shoppers are inclined towards brands they are familiar, they are open to purchasing them via different platforms.
Retailers and e-commerce players, however, need to look at the bigger picture—Single’s Day is an opportunity to focus on customer retention, making wise investing decisions, and creating customer lifetime value, and optimal logistics is a key element to achieve this bigger goal.
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