A Glance At Digital Marketing Strategies To Drive Success For Online Shopping Festivals

November 20, 2020

Indonesia’s recent Singles’ Day (11.11) was again met with a merry number of online transactions, signaling that the online traffic sees no red light and is taking off to greater heights. While participating marketplaces put more strength on their existing tactics, consumers are starting to expand the variety of their shopping cart items; slowly allowing luxe needs into their spending. Thus, what does this mean for brands? Since consumers are showing more willingness to welcome back brands that have been considered ‘tertiary during the pandemic, this opens up an opportunity for more brands to bounce back. However, before actually generating sales, brands need to effectively fight for the consumers' attention through gadget screens every minute of every day, amid the overflowing information that comes from anywhere at any time. Thus, staying relevant1 and agile become the key to success; one strategic roadmap towards it lies in digital marketing. 

Before dipping our toes into that, understanding the consumers' behavior goes without saying, especially in a climate of a long pandemic as well as the frenzy of online shopping festivals. After a very enthusiastic three to fourfold rise of orders during the past double number festivals, the double eleven festival wrapped up with several consistent activities by Indonesia's consumers and a few changes in behavior that brands should keep in mind. 

11.11 Festival Overview

According to SIRCLO’s internal data, Personal Care and Household Goods maintained their performance as the top 2 most sought after categories during the 11.11 Festival, respectively. On the other hand, as consumers were mostly checking out products from the Food & Beverages category during last month's festival, it is apparent that they have shifted their attention towards the Fashion category this month. This makes the 3 most sought after categories (Personal Care, Household Goods, & Fashion) parallel to that of last year’s. Although the fashion industry initially relied heavily on physical experience, its current online experience has been made interactively satisfying thanks to state-of-the-art technology features, such as Live streaming of product try-ons. In recent times, this specific feature has been especially popular among SMEs to drive sales and recreate an identical direct seller-shopper interaction that used to be experienced offline.2

The zero o'clock flash sale is now becoming the marketplaces' tradition to kick off the day and the majority of consumers are eagerly abiding to reap all the benefits available, reflected through SIRCLO’s internal data. Hitting the spot, two participating marketplaces reported a heavy traffic of online consumers during the first hour; Lazada saw a double digit increase in the number of consumers compared to last year,3 while Shopee reached 20 million visits.4 Moreover, these consumers weren't merely scrolling through promotions, but were actually completing purchases right then. During the first hour for Shopee, the number of transactions increased over sixfold than that of last year's and the biggest transaction value actually exceeded Rp 30 million.5 Aside from the iconic midnight hour, SIRCLO data also indicates that the online shopping activities particularly increased at 8 AM, 11 AM to noon (lunch break), and at 9 PM.

According to our internal findings of the three consecutive online shopping festivals, there is a tendency for consumers who shop during the 9.9 Festival to reshop during the 10.10, as well as 11.11 Festivals. Notwithstanding, the number of new users continue to grow, in addition to the existing consumers making repeat purchases. Halfway through this month, SIRCLO’s findings indicate that the number of new users has reached beyond 50% of the previous month’s. At this pace, the total number of new users in November 2020 is likely to exceed that of October.

All in all, the 11.11 Festival was yet another opportune occasion for every e-commerce player to strike gold, reaching a threefold increase in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) as reported by SIRCLO’s data. Albeit marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee, and Bukalapak giving the 11.11 Festival a giant whirl with their grand events,6 Tokopedia did not actively partake in the double number bandwagon and instead dedicated resources to build their own monthly campaign, namely “Waktu Indonesia Belanja” (Indonesia’s Time to Shop) or WIB for short.7 Choosing the common payday date in Indonesia to launch the campaign period, WIB is held from the 25th to the last day of the month. Through this campaign, Tokopedia is able to hit two birds with one stone; getting an edge over their competitors by choosing a period when other marketplaces aren’t actively campaigning, while also luring consumers who have recently received their paycheck. 

Online shopping festivals that are unique to each marketplace can be a good momentum for brands that fall under the secondary and tertiary needs. As previously mentioned, the Fashion category managed to regain its popularity during the 11.11 Festival, despite having undergone a shift in function and urgency due to the pandemic. In addition to that, smartphones have been showing outstanding performance on multiple marketplace platforms.8 On Lazada, a rising smartphone brand called Infinix became the top selling brand on both the 9.9 as well as 11.11 Festivals, selling over thousands of units within its new product’s first day of sales.9 Meanwhile on Shopee, the Handphone & Tablet category became the top selling category based on GMV during the 11.11 Festival, with Xiaomi being the number one brand.10 Having reported a 100% year-on-year GMV growth in this season, Bukalapak similarly offers discounted gadgets among other variety of products in high demand during the new normal season, such as bicycles, electronics and household goods.11. 

To get the consumers’ point of view on the matter, Facebook’s survey showed that Harbolnas is becoming the consumers’ moment of product variety exploration, particularly for millennials.12 It is observable that needs beyond the primary level are beginning to be entertained by the consumers, making now an ideal time for brands to gain their prominence once again. To do that, the current digital era demands a digital roadmap; digital marketing. 

Digital marketing for a brand’s survival 

In Hubspot’s plain words, digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the Internet.13 Rooted in the traditional marketing paradigm, digital marketing was born to keep up with the world’s speedy digital transformation over the years. Be it offline or online, brands need to be present and be in the consumers’ range of sight, hence it becomes increasingly important, now than ever, to be where the consumers are looking at.

Nowadays, at least 3 hours of a consumers’ day is spent looking through social media channels14 with Youtube, Facebook and Instagram being among the most used applications.15 Tiktok, a product of China’s ByteDance, is also entering the list with Indonesia standing as the fourth country with the most Tiktok users worldwide.16 While the platform is often associated with dance videos and funny sketches, multiple international brands have been engaging in the platform to create business-related content and show up in the radar of Gen Z, such as Guess, Louis Vuitton, and NBA

Cited from Forbes, we are entering an era in which the importance of online traffic is more significant than foot traffic for most businesses.17 Therefore in doing so, there are 7 main strategies of digital marketing for brands to choose from according to their business needs:18

Each strategy has its own functions, goals, and a set of requirements that must be fulfilled in order to achieve effectiveness. In choosing one or more strategies to work with, a brand should reflect on what the business needs. As always, brands need to first define who they are talking to before determining what to say, in what manner, through which channel, and to what extent. Even though so, CNBC reported that there are billions of digital marketing dollars spent on online adverts that unfortunately miss their intended targets.19 Taking one as an example; while many may think that content marketing is simply creating content (visual, audio, or text) that is interesting to keep people engaged, it requires extensive efforts and thoughts into the production process to be able to meet the needs of the brand. When doing it right and even coupling it with other strategies, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or email marketing, brands can have better odds in accomplishing more through less effort.  

Simply put, digital marketing can be a brand's valuable investment when it is well-defined, well-analyzed, and well-performed. The entire process includes researching the market, understanding the company’s marketing goals, analyzing the competitive landscape, assessing the available channels’ performance, and ensuring efficient budget allocation.20 Investing in digital marketing means investing in staying prominent, relevant, and most importantly present. When consumers can’t find a brand, or worse - they find a brand on an unappealing note - the brand identity could be hanging by its fingernails. Nonetheless, implementing a strategy doesn’t necessarily mean going glorious or overboard, but it always means adjusting to your audience. 

Being aware of the importance of digital marketing, Garnier has been making the most of their platforms to elevate their online presence. In adopting social media marketing, Garnier’s tactics are visibly shown through their Instagram account; maximizing the potentials that a single platform is able to offer as Instagram users (72%) are reported to make purchase decisions based on something that they saw while browsing the app.21

Now that Instagram has released its Shopping feature, @GarnierUSA has been utilizing it to give their customers an even easier access to shop through their online stores. Apart from that, Garnier (worldwide) also optimizes Instagram ads that are strategically targeted to Instagram users who fit the criteria of their audience, allowing users to remember the brand while getting to know them better. To create engagement and buzz surrounding the brand, Garnier Indonesia empowers content marketing by organizing insightful sharing sessions with experts/KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) in the industry, posting tutorials of their products, sharing product reviews from real customers, and other sorts of engaging tactics. To boost their sales performance, they hold flash sale campaigns and product giveaways that are specific for Instagram users to participate on.

The 8th month of the pandemic has brought more consumers into the e-commerce landscape with a keener eye to explore more variety of products. As the world faces multiple unpredictabilities, the opportunities that are opening up for brands in the digital realm everywhere shouldn’t be overlooked; brands should strike while the iron is hot. To achieve so, we advise businesses of any scale to reflect on their digital marketing strategies. Aside from striving for operational excellence, businesses need to stay adaptive using agile methods. Through SIRCLO’s range of solutions, we provide brands with SaaS platforms (SIRCLO Store) and end-to-end services (SIRCLO Commerce) to establish a strong online presence that is both profitable and sustainable. 

Three merry festivals and 1 more to go; it will be the 12.12 Festival a.k.a Indonesia’s Hari Belanja Online Nasional (Harbolnas) before we know it. Until then, kudos to all brand owners who are seizing every opportunity in the horizon! As always, SIRCLO wishes you all the best of luck. 

Should you need assistance in building your business’ online presence, feel free to contact us.  


SIRCLO neither provides regulated advice nor guarantee results. The materials we convey reflect general insight and best practice based on information currently available, and do not contain all of the information needed to determine a future course of action. Such information has not been generated or independently verified by SIRCLO and is inherently uncertain and subject to change. SIRCLO has no obligation to update these materials and makes no representation or warranty and expressly disclaims any liability with respect thereto.