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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day in China racks up $23 billion in sales: Should Australia run its own e-commerce discount fest? – StartupSmart

The resounding success of China’s Singles’ Day sales has promoted experts and business owners to call on more Australians to get involved with international retail events.

Singles’ Day is a Chinese deep discount e-commerce event, held on November 11 each year. The event was created by Chinese retail giant Alibaba, and pulls in excess of $20 billion in sales each year.

This year, Alibaba reported $1 billion in sales in the first five minutes of the 24-hour long event, and a record $23.39 billion in sales over the whole event reports The ABC.

Read more: Singles’ Day highlights scope of e-commerce in China, but patience is the name of the game for Aussie SMEs

American retailers benefit from the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the two days combined are still dwarfed by the sales done on Singles Day.

However, Australian shoppers and retailers are not presented with many options when it comes to similar events close to home. The closest comparison can be drawn to flash sale event Click Frenzy, which brought in approximately $189 million in sales in 2014.

However, executive chairman of the National Online Retailers Association Paul Greenberg told SmartCompany that Click Frenzy is “nothing to be scoffed at”.

“A lot of retailers are quite pleased with the growth they get when Click Frenzy comes around,” Greenberg says.

“We can’t really compare to China when it comes to these sales.”

Greenberg embraces all forms of retail events, believing the more there are on the calendar the better. However, he believes a specific Australian-centric sales day is not needed.

“Singles’ Day will become a global phenomenon soon enough. As the world flattens more retailers will sell in and out of China, I predict it will become a global shopping mania,” he says.

“What it’s all about now is how Australian retailers can get a slice of the action.”

This morning SmartCompany spoke to one Australian retailer who is instead focusing on the American flash sale weekend.

Smart50 finalist Rob Ward from Annex Products told SmartCompany his business does months’ worth of sales in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

“We don’t run anything for Singles’ Day, we’re much more invested in Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Ward says.

“Last year we were up 198% from 2014’s sales, so we’re hoping this year follows suit.”

Ward’s business sells its iconic Quadlock bike smartphone mount, and used to participate in Click Frenzy “when we were a bit smaller”. The business doesn’t participate anymore, and Ward believes retailers should be focused more on international sales events.

“For me, the world’s pretty small. There are a number of retail events around the world that we can partake in if we want to, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t just have to be for American retailers,” Ward says.

He believes more retailers should get on board, as it is “the one day of the year you can discount your products that much without doing damage to your brand”.

“It’s a tool we use, it’s part of our strategy now,” he says.

Australia-only sales day “seems funny”

Ward also thinks the concept of an Australian only sales day “seems funny”, and businesses should aim to be more global.

“There doesn’t have to be rules surrounding location. Businesses shouldn’t be in the mindset of being an “Australian” business, the business should be everywhere, and just happen to be located in Australia,” Ward says.

“We wouldn’t be where we are if we weren’t global from day one.”

Greenberg supports international sales events like Singles Day and Black Friday but worries the themes are too focused on deep discounting.

“We need more celebrations than just a race to the bottom. I’d prefer to see something like a shopping festival, rather than just a competition on how much we can cut,” he says.

“There’s more to engaging shoppers than just slashing the price.”

Both Ward and Greenberg believe Australian shoppers would be eager to support local retailers when they in international sales.

“As long as it’s well run, cohesive, and the shopper gets put at the centre, I think everyone will get on board,” Greenberg says.

This article was originally published on Smart Company. 

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Dominic Powell is a freelance journalist with an interest in technology, startups and music.



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