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Why, and how, UK online retailers could benefit from Singles Day growth

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The amount that UK shoppers spend on Singles Day will grow fast this year, Worldpay predicts, as the popularity of the Chinese shopping event starts to eclipse the pre-Christmas spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It says online retailers could double their sales on Singles Day by optimising their site for use by Chinese shoppers.

Worldpay, a leading payment processor, says that last year it processed three times as many retail transactions on 11/11 than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. In 2015 it processed 9,000 transactions a minute on China’s Singles Day, which started off as a celebration for single people inspired by the fact that only the number 1 appears in the date. Spending peaked at 8am GMT, it says, when it processed more than 1,000 payments a second. More than twice as much money changed hands in 2015 than in 2014, with the number of transactions 136% ahead.

Maria Prados, VP global retail, global Ecom at Worldpay, said: “We’ve been tracking the rise of China Singles’ Day since its inception, from an occasion for singles to party in China, to the world’s top-grossing online shopping holiday. It is incredible to see just how quickly the event has eclipsed the traditional holiday sales period. Last year, merchants from over 20 countries took part, and as Singles’ Day goes global, retailers need to prepare themselves for the biggest ecommerce event of the year.

“To turn browsers into buyers, it is essential your website appeals to the needs of local shoppers. Our recent research [Worldpay’s Why do they Pay That Way study] found that security is a huge concern for Chinese consumers, revealing that more than two-thirds feel more secure making a purchase from a well-known website or reputable brand. Nearly half of all transactions in China are made by e-wallet and online retailers also need to let shoppers pay how they want to. With a website optimised for mobile, and some well-timed product offers and discounts, online retailers could double their sales on Singles Day.”

Worldpay’s tips for selling on Singles Day

· Build brand awareness in the run up to 11/11. Start to increase awareness via social media ahead of China Singles Day so shoppers know your brand is involved.

· Think about offering pre-orders and promotions before the date so shoppers can order products before you run out of stock.

· Show delivery costs and methods upfront. Shoppers want to see when they will receive their goods. And they want to know how much they will need to pay before they buy.

· Encourage shoppers to create an online account. Try to take advantage of the busiest day of the year to convert one-off shoppers into loyal ones.

· Let shoppers pay how they want. Nearly half of all transactions in China are made by e-wallet, and the market leader in Alipay, so it is crucial to offer popular local payment methods.

· Look after your VIPs. Reward your loyal customers with personalized shopping services, discounts and promotions to make sure they feel valued and continue shopping with you.

· Focus on your mobile proposition. A whopping 37% of Chinese shoppers (53% of millennials) buy on their mobile, way above the global average of 13%.

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