Singles Day Burns Up the Wires

With “Singles Day” breaking another year of all-time records it’s a unique repeatable situation that stretches the imagination of many commerce organizations. Where the basecamp for this year over year growth success can be found in positive customer and product experiences.

In terms of numbers, last year was already mindboggling with over 800 million transactions in 24 hours. This year the number even excelled itself as more than $31b was generated – of which alone the first 10% in the first 5 minutes! But it doesn´t only refer to a monetary aspect. When you take a look on all this from a technical perspective, just imagine the pressure on the tech stack and the organizations behind all this. Fascinating!

It´s All About the Experience

Not even 10 years ago Alibaba connected the singles day to the commercial success we know today. The year over year growth could only be as successful as it is if the overall customer experience is positive and people get the product experience they are after. Without these two main factors Singles Day would never become as successful as it is today.

Thus, what makes a great customer experience? It’s actually more about the perception that the customer has with the brand. In many of the big commerce hubs like Alibaba, Amazon and local others the customer connects through these hubs because of the brand experience they offer. Where the context of each customer interaction plays a tremendous role in shaping the customer experience. This starts often at the first touchpoints with the brand and ends with the product experience, where if this last point isn’t managed correctly it will get returned.

All that leading to one decisive fact: Managing the product experience is key! How often haven’t we all ordered something online (with and/or without proper vetting the options) only to get disappointed when delivery takes place. Commerce hubs and their suppliers are on the hook for shaping the experience. And offering a contextual product experience can not only create a better customer experience, it can reduce costs greatly.

What happens if you don’t offer a great experience?

Roughly 30% of all orders get shipped back, simple because they don’t live up to the expected product experience – which according to a study from UPS can eat into 20-65% of the costs of an organization. Apart from the financial position, consider the effect on the consumers. Although returning products gets easier every year, as an organization you can only get away with this bad experience so many times before your customer chooses an ecommerce shop that makes good on the end-to-end experience.

Being in Marketing Operations myself with a love for technology on how it can help the business, of course we will take a look at the technology supporting all this. But it comes down to the main following:

  • Alibaba’s Cloud solution including autonomous scaling
  • AI and machine learning for display advertising
  • Several solutions to optimize the customer and product experience, including
    • AI powered fashion mix-and-match suggestions based on product images and deep product information
    • Virtual fitting rooms to try the product before purchasing

Over the years Alibaba made full use of futurized technologies, always focused on delivering amazing customer and product experiences. By overdelivering year over year on the experience Alibaba was able to again pull of a smooth Singles Day obliviating previous years and offering a great experience to returning customers and a whole new generation of long lasting new customers.

CS Author Eric-Jan Van Putten

Data driven marketer with a focus on building and working with a great team. A passion for new marketing technologies and using them to drive business results. Always sees opportunities to increase marketing performance and efficiencies. I enjoy getting to the set (high) goals while maintaining an enthusiastic and motivated team.

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