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the power of vision: Singles' day - buy what you see

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Single’s Day – the most popular shopping event in the world, driving 5x the amount of online retail sales than all of the US big shopping holidays combined. Chinese eCommerce giants, Alibaba and, racked up $115 billion in sales during Singles’ Day 2020 and that’s not all…other eCommerce platforms like Lazada, Shopee and Shopback have supercharged Singles’ Day across Southeast Asia. 

Singles’ Day is not just about driving sales, it is also an important way to get discovered and connect with new customers, especially with Generation Z. As such, brands need to move beyond just price discounts and evolve their customer experience offering, or get left behind. Live streaming is one area of innovation, becoming key revenue drivers during Singles’ Day but they’re not without their challenges, as returns on sales can often be as high as 50% due to the impulse nature of livestream purchases. 

AI-powered Visual Search is a great way to get discovered by the next generation, create a connection with new customers and increase revenues. Visual Search has been around for a number of years and is now built into popular search engines and social media platforms that include Pinterest, Google, Amazon, Snapchat, and Bing. This is no surprise given that 62% of Generation Z and Millenial consumers want Visual Search capabilities, more than any other new technology! 

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A picture is worth a thousand words

Visual Search enables your customers to simply upload a photo onto your eCommerce site and find what they’re looking for. Using a combination of computer vision and machine learning technology, eCommerce brands can boost product discovery 5x faster and make accurate product recommendations to deliver faster, more relevant shopping experiences, leading to increased sales. Amy Vener, Retail Vertical Strategy Lead at Pinterest also believes that “Visual discovery allows the consumer to generate a more emotional connection, which translates into less price sensitivity.” 

Pinterest’s Visual Search app (“Pinterest Lens”) boasts over 600 million searches every month and its key USP is that users can take a photo of almost anything and they will be able to find, save or shop for items contained within the picture. Pinterest Lens is a powerful ally of fashion brands, retailers and home décor companies, with Pinterest stating that “90% of users’ purchasing decisions are informed by information attained through the Visual Search technology”. 

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11.11 Craze

Singles’ Day in Asia (November 11) is the number one shopping day in the world. In 2020, Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.Com racked up around $115 billion in sales across their platforms during the Singles’ Day shopping event, with 800 million customers participating and the numbers of orders peaking at 583,000 per second. 

To put Singles’ Day into context with other big shopping holidays in the US, last year’s online retail sales for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined amounted to only $24.6 billion.  

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it's a new record!

Singles’ Day has since become popularized across Southeast Asia, with eCommerce giants Lazada, Shopee and Shopback all unlocking the power of Singles’ Day. Lazada, the Alibaba-owned platform, saw a record number of sales in Singles’ Day 2020, with over $100 million of sales generated in the first hour – three times faster than in 2019. The top three categories included beauty, electronics and home appliances, with TVs, groceries and exercise equipment the top-selling products.  

Not to be left behind, Shopee, the leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia, also set new records in 2020, with 200 million items sold, a significant increase on the 70 million products sold in 24 hours in 2019. Shopee also uncovered new trends in Indonesia, such as a surge in demand for personal care and household needs, along with mobiles and tablets remaining as the best-selling categories.  

Shopback, Southeast Asia’s leading cashback site, also hit new highs for Singles’ Day sales in 2020 with a 20x uplift in total traffic in the first hour of Singles’ Day compared to an average day, with the top categories being Health & Beauty, Electronics and Food. 

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Innovate, evolve or lose out

Singles’ Day isn’t just about driving sales however, it’s also a way to acquire new customers. As such, brands will need to move beyond just price discounts and consider how to invest in options like product launches, live-streaming and the customer experience in order to evolve their offering to keep up.  

Livestreams are nothing new, but have become supercharged by Singles’ Day and social media platforms. Livestream sessions are hosted by social influencers, trialling new products, with social media targeting meaning brands can curate products to each audience, with Taobao claiming conversion rates of 65% in livestreaming campaigns in 2018.  

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Whilst livestreams have become key revenue drivers, and play a crucial role during Singles’ Day, livestreams are not without their challenges. Return rates for products sold through livestream remain a serious issue for brands, with some experiencing returns on sales as high as 50% due to the impulse nature of livestream purchases.  

what are you waiting for?

Find out how you can stand out from the crowd and power your customers’ product discovery, optimize their online shopping experiences and increase your eCommerce revenues with the world’s most accurate AI-powered product discovery for eCommerce.  

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Visual Search: the SMART approach 

Download our SMART guide and find out how Visual Search is transforming eCommerce businesses like yours. Curious to find out even more? Contact our team today! 

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