You can easily find dozens of e-commerce websites and platforms operating in Singapore. Most fall into one of the three categories: traditional retailers such as Fairprice and Watsons, e-commerce platforms represented by Alibaba owned Lazada, and individual sellers. In this article, I roughly explore popular product categories in Singapore, top e-commerce platforms and sites statistics, top mobile shopping apps, and relevant regulations in Singapore. [Read more…] about Ultimate guide to Singapore e-commerce market 2019; statistics, top platforms, best selling products
Singapore Marketing Tips
With a total population of 5.83 million, Singapore has 4.92 million internet users with a penetration rate of 84% and 8.37 million mobile subscribers according to WeAreSocial. Social media users in Singapore total 4.6 million while mobile social users have reached 4.2 million. [Read more…] about Singapore internet and social media statistics 2018/2019
Google.com received the most traffic from Singapore in February 2019 with 12.18% traffic share according to data from SimilarWeb, followed by youtube.com, facebook.com, google.com.sg, wikipedia.org, yahoo.com, whatsapp.com, reddit.com, twitter.com, instagram.com, etc. The top 10 accounted for over a quarter of all traffic in Singapore (26.56%). [Read more…] about Top 50 Singapore Websites in Feb 2019
An annual 10-week mid-year retail sales festival called Great Singapore Sales, or GSS organized by Singapore Retailers Association, just started over the last weekend. And, more e-commerce companies have joined the festival.
This serves as an inspiration for this post while the knowledge and tactics below not only apply for retailers in Singapore.
Seven areas you can improve your Great Singapore Sales (or other shopping festivals) results and increase the ROI of both retail and e-commerce companies.
1. Create a dedicated campaign page and optimize it for Google
A quick search on Google saw some proactive advertising campaigns targeting GSS from Eu Yan Sang, Zalora, Crocs, Chili’s, a spa company, Esplanade theater, and etc. And, a few got their SEO strategy implemented in advance such as Lazada (on top 3), Goodwood Park Hotel, Mothercare, and Zalora on the first page of organic search results, each of which has a dedicated GSS plan set up and optimized.
You can hire an SEO agency, a consultant, or do it in-house. Visit Moz for a quick guide. An SEO strategy should be included and implemented. But, always remember, put users first.
2. Start campaign early and get ready by end April
A major sales event like GSS requires a bit of advanced planning.
Singapore consumers usually start showing their interest in early May looking for GSS information. Companies should plan a pre-GSS campaign and be ready by the end of April.
3. Target current and potential customers and members with Facebook Ads
While some actively look for information on search engines, many who are interested in your product do not search. You could reach them on Facebook. Targeting Facebook users can be very complex depending on how you define your customer journey and develop the remarketing strategies. I’ll share some quick tactics you can consider implementing.
Retarget your promotion landing page visitors
Set up Facebook Pixel on your website. And, define a custom audience group such as “GSS Page Visitors”. If your GSS promotion includes a variety of products, you want to promote your brand awareness to this group of users on Facebook.
P.S. You can also target all visitors to your website as well. You need to figure out how to integrate this segment into your overall campaign strategy.
Use Audience Insights tool to pre-define target audience segments
Define as many segments as possible based on personas profiles you have for products and name them properly so that you know who you are targeting when you launch the campaign.
Create audience segments for each of your priority product pages
At the end of the day, 10-20% of your products sales contribute to about 80-90% of your revenues. Based on your past sales record and experience, you should know better than anyone else the potential top-selling products for GSS promotions.
Developing each segment will not only enable you to reach your audience with more targeted messaging but also make it easier for you to craft your offers.
Import your members’ contacts and reach them on Facebook
Many retailers have a database of their members; you can reach them with members-only promotions on Facebook. If you have created segments in your CRM (e.g. people love a specific product), you should set up one for each for more targeted promotion.
You can also set up a lookalike audience to target on Facebook based on your existing customers.
Most companies are still simply remarketing to overall website visitors, underutilizing the power of Facebook Ad platform. And, remember this, no matter how well you plan this, get a team ready during the campaign period to constantly test and fine tune the campaign targeting and messaging for better results.
Facebook ads, paid search, and EDM are the top three channels you should consider investing your budget.
4. Integrate online and offline
Do not treat your e-commerce and offline campaigns separately; integrating online and offline will deliver better results, including driving online traffic to offline store visits, converting offline visits to Facebook fans and members so that you can reach them in the future online, provide personalized recommendations based on data aggregated from both online and offline visit and purchase behaviors, and etc.
5. Create urgency by dividing the campaign period
One critical element of effective promotions is to create urgency. “66 days” of GSS promotion does not do that. But, retailers can still do so by dividing the campaign to several periods. For instance, the first two weeks for category A products, the next two for category B products, …and the last two weeks for store-wide promotions.
The downside of this approach is, you need to release the promotion information early to a wide audience, which could be costly. So for SME retailers, it’s more workable if you have an existing database of customers and fans.
6. Get ready to combat e-commerce shopping cart abandonment
Six-month average shopping cart abandonment rate is 78% according to Listrak. Some have much higher abandonment rate; if you don’t know yours, implement the tracking asap. You don’t want to spend a huge amount of resources and budget ending up with 80% interested visitors dropping off the purchase funnel.
Trust and credibility
If a visitor doesn’t trust your brand, you can forget about making any profit from him, especially true for small retailers or newly established e-commerce companies. Some tips you can quickly implement that I found very helpful.
Use recognizable logos of cooperating banks, anti-virus software, and digital encryption companies (like the image below); do link to corresponding pages if available:
Choose a more credible SSL Certificates provider such as DigiCert (I use them; a bit more expensive than some options in the market) and Verisign. I recommend you useExtended Validation (EV) if you don’t have an established brand.
EV requires businesses to go through a rigorous validation process to prove identity, making it the highest degree of authentication available. EV-secured sites are given a green branded address bar, which is one of the most highly recognizable trust indicators on the web:
Make the checkout process fast and furious
Some websites include many steps prolonging the checkout process, which increases the abandonment rate. Include as few steps as possible, especially for new users who never transact on your e-commerce site yet. And, use a progress bar to provide customers a clear indication of their status in the purchase process:
75% people want this. So, do implement it if you don’t have one. And, try not to make login a required step at the beginning; you can use browser cookies to “remember” customers’ carts.
Offer multiple payment methods
For Singapore market, you can consider accepting payments by Apple Pay, PayPal, SmoovPay, Stripe, Dash, eNETS. For China, Alipay and WeChat Pay are top options. Try Alipay if you have limited resources; or, implement WeChat Pay first for offline retail payment.
You don’t necessarily need to include all available payment options. Conduct your research of the popular payment options for the target markets.
Other tactics I found very helpful in the past include:
- Offer 100% refund within xx days
- Offer free shipping or be transparent about it upfront
- Identify the problem in the conversion funnel using a web analytics such as Google Analytics
- Optimize your website for optimal loading speed
- Use remarketing ads on Facebook and Google AdWords to reach users with incomplete purchase
7. Strategize beyond the campaign success
First of all, you should think twice before you do something for the success of upcoming campaigns with the sacrifice of long-term business success. For instance, some retailers sell low-quality products with heavy promotions which look like regular high-quality ones.
And, you should plan your campaign so that your business can benefit in the long term such as raising brand awareness, increasing the size of the online community, growing CRM database, testing new acquisition channels, and etc.
I’ve been a Citibank customer for years since 2008. And, I began receiving their promotional emails since then like these ones:
I rarely opened them. I opened one yesterday, which “inspired” me to write this post. :’) I’ve been doing email marketing (eDM) since 2006; I have to say, Citibank Singapore’s eDM campaigns were poorly developed. It’s a bit surprising to me as Citibank has made some positive digital efforts during recent years.
Here are the top 5 areas of mistakes companies make on email marketing from audience, content, design, SOP to timing I observed in the past.
1. Sending marketing emails in bulk to everyone in the list – AUDIENCE
This is the promotion email from Citibank I opened yesterday. It’s a promotion email for an offer of Triumph, an international women’s underwear brand. How on earth do you promote those to men customers? In the good faith of cultivating a good relationship between couples? I don’t think so.
Sending your email messages to all members of your eDM list is untargeted, ineffective, unwise, and dangerous. It’s not advertisements that people hate, but spams. Blasting the email to all gets your target audience the “spam” feeling regardless of how the emails were acquired.
Always segment your email list and create custom audiences.
2. Creating cold, not personalized or targeted email messages, adding little value – CONTENT
The above screen capture is exactly the email content itself, which looks very 1990s, far from modern email marketing practices.
Personalize yourself – the name of the sender. If sending all your emails from your company name like “Citibank Singapore”, it’s confusing. And, some users might start to ignore everything sent from this name if they don’t like some of emails from this sender. This is better if presented as a department name. Or, name it after your segmentation such as Citibank SG Lifestyle, or Citibank SG Retail.
If you want to go one step further, use the name of your social media manager (which I often recommend to clients; other team members are also good) so that they can even get connected later. E.g. “Estella Lim, XXX”.
Personalize the greetings. Living in a world everyone is surrounded by social media, your greetings should be social too and personalized. “Hello [FIRST NAME]” (better), or simply “Hello” is fine, followed by your email message. Make it conversational. Consumers don’t like reading corporate style messages nowadays.
Personalize the content of your email message. The least every company can do is to create more targeted email segments and create the content specifically for that audience segment. The best way is to utilize machine learning (A.I.) technology to empower the personalization process and deliver the exact desired value.
Last but not least, carefully craft the subject line; it’s not easy. But, it’s very important to get your recipients to open the emails. Check out the infographic from Unbounce.
Labeling with “ADV” is required by Spam Control Act, but it can easily get people associate it with spam. Use double opt-in to build your list. And, it decreases the open rate.
3. Design fails
The biggest design mistake some companies still make is not designing for mobile email clients. And, a busy design is not rare. By “busy”, I mean the email layout is scattered or crowded without a core focus and it often includes one too many call-to-actions (CTA). Trust me, ONE CTA is the best option.
Including text and text links could give a boost to your open email campaign click rate. Don’t just use images, which many companies do.
Don’t develop very long emails; keep it short and simple. According to Boomerang, emails between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50%:
4. Sending email campaigns without testing first
When you are ready to send your email campaigns, DON’T. Test it before you launch it. The least you should test is sending it to the top email service providers in your target markets such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL, Yandex, and QQ Mail and 163 Mail for Chinese markets.
See if you can really receive the test emails from these email providers as sometimes you can expect bounce emails. If you can, get a real feeling of the design, content, and CTA. Compile a checklist for the test. Sometimes one word could land your emails in the junk box and waste all your campaign efforts.
Also experiment with different preheader text (the short summary text that follows the subject line), which can have a huge impact on eDM open rates.
Conduct heatmap analysis if you are using a new design developed from scratch. And, don’t forget to check the tracking and social sharing implementation of your email campaigns.
Life is about timing. —Carl Lewis
Carl is right. And, timing is also important for successful email campaigns. It takes time to test and identify the best time and day of the week to send the emails. Test by different segments and time zones. Frequency is also important. Too many or too few emails within a specific time period are not good.
Singapore’s public transport service provider SMRT, working with retailer Cold Storage, transformed some of the wall spaces at its stations into virtual ‘shops’ where commuters can make purchases on the move. [Read more…] about Why Is Singapore’s First Virtual Shopping Wall A Failure?