Is your website ready for China's Singles' Day?

Tomorrow is the next profitable global online shopping event in the retail marketing calendar – Chinese Singles' Day. 

From 4pm this afternoon (midnight for Chinese shoppers) eCommerce retailers will be incentivising singletons to spoil themselves with heavily discounted online purchases. So called because the date is made up of four 'ones', Singles' Day is an occasion for single people to celebrate single life and has now become one of China's biggest online shopping events.

Last year online sales during Singles' Day dwarfed sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Whether you are a retailer with eCommerce operations in China or an online business that targets Chinese citizens living abroad, if you want to get involved in this mammoth online shopping event you need to ensure your website is fully optimised for Chinese online shoppers. 

Joe Doveton, head of conversion at Oban Digital shares with retailers some last-minute tips on how to get ready:

1. Increase your visibility and ranking retailers must have a strong presence on Chinese social networks such as Ren Ren and Weibo and a high natural search visibility on Baidu (China's dominant search engine), to ensure that they maximise opportunities and capitalise on potential online sales.

2. Translation won’t attract or keep shoppers – if you're one of many retailers trying to make the most of this shopping extravaganza, simply translating your standard website into Chinese and weaving Singles' Day into your content won't pay off. It's crucial to understand what works in the Chinese market, from language and culture to technology.

3. Design and navigation is key – the Chinese writing system has some 80,000 characters so using a keyboard is cumbersome, especially for less tech-savvy shoppers. Retailers need to design their websites for click-based navigation rather than typed search terms as Chinese shoppers prefer to have the navigation and key product categories laid out in front of them.

4. Get technical – don't assume that your Chinese customers use the same technology as you; they don't. Chrome has finally overtaken IE in China, but only since May 2014 and 22% of Chinese shoppers still use IE6 (not bad for a dead browser).

5. Don't cut corners – language alone is a complex task when trying to convey the right message.  But it's not just differences in grammar or turns of phrase that retailers need to consider; Chinese characters have up to 44 individual brushstrokes, so font size needs to be significantly larger when transliterating Latin to Chinese script.

Retailers need to remember that one size does not fit all, particularly when marketing in different countries, cultures and languages. Tailoring marketing campaigns and the online shopping experience will be the secret to success for retailers this Singles' Day.

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Oban Digital