Anatomy of $14.31 Billion Created in 24 Hours

As Cyber Monday and Black Friday are almost upon us, I wanted to look at a success story and identify key factors of success for this day. It may be too late to implement some tactics, but not too late to anticipate the next big buying rush coming to online stores from laptops, tablets, phones, TVs and Smartwatches very soon.

I am more of a B2B kind of  guy, but in today’s business even the most business-oriented corporations expect businesses to talk to them like B2C customers, especially as we are still in the awareness phase. When it comes to analyzing successes, it is better to start looking at what the big boys of Internet marketing are doing to set the bar high.

Last week, I was amazed by the story of the only company in the world that has ever been able to drive $14.32 billion in business in 1 (ONE) day, 24 hours. That is $580 million per hour, $58 Million every 10 minutes. In their first ten minutes, they made $1 billion (I started writing this article 10 minutes ago…). You probably know who I am talking about. Alibaba.com, the Usain Bolt of online retailers that keeps beating their own records. When I discussed this with my baby brother in China (he is studying business in Nanjing), he gave me pretty good pointers and sources of research.

Alibaba is comparable to Amazon for the U.S. On the 11-11, they were celebrating the Single’s day. 11-11 is a representation for “the bare branches”, a Chinese phrase for single fellows.

1) They have attached their brand to a special day. When you have your company, you can create or follow the holiday you want. Starbucks has their National Iced Tea day on June 10th, the National Onion Association has June 22nd for National Onion Ring day. More or less everything you eat, use, or feel can have a national day. This gives businesses a reason to promote their products. Some businesses use their self-created days better than the others. When other companies are trying to attach their name to the single’s day (Also called double 11 (TM)), they realized last week that it was too late to play in this court.

2) They have a huge offline marketing presence, not just online. You probably already know that people need about 8 direct touchpoints in order to become aware of your brand, and that you need to be on all fronts to increase the chances for people to see your brand. McDonald’s has done a great job for All Day Breakfast. In the case of Alibaba, they worked with brick and mortar retailers and attached QR codes so that people could scan items to pre-order and receive promotions on the day of the sale and buy the product directly from their mobile device. Awesome concept to capture fresh and qualified contacts and the emails of paying customers, isn’t that right? The resale operation started as early as October 27th with 27,000 vendors.

3) Work with well-known brand advocates. Who would not listen to James Bond (Daniel Craig), or the US president in House of Cards, Kevin Spacey? People associate themselves with these names and when they do, they pay more attention the message that person advances. Investing in a brand advocate can be pricey, but it is a good investment if you want to increase brand awareness. It is even better when those brand advocates promote their own business; it may not be as expensive as you may think!

4) Give access to your business from mobile devices. It can be through an app, a mobile website, or a responsive website. Make sure that potential customers can make a qualifying action from their phone. Alibaba caught $8.586 billion from mobile devices (not verified). People like the convenience and simplicity of using their phone at the airport, in their taxi, or even at their house when they don’t want to use their laptop.

5) Clear call to actions with no frictions. Buying on the 11-11 is a message as easy as 1, 2, 3, (…) 14 billion. To reduce friction, they partnered with major phone carriers to offer extra roaming data for mobile shopping. During the first minute of selling on the 11-11 from 12:00 A.M to 12:01 A.M, the payment system handled 85,900 transactions per second.

This day involved an estimated 1.7 million delivery people, 400,000 vehicles, and 200 airplanes to handle the shipping challenges in the following week. Next step for founder Jack Ma is to go after occidental customers. He wants 50% of his revenue coming from outside China.

Where are we from implementing these keys factors of digital success in our brick and mortar businesses?

*Don’t miss Duncan Clarck’s book coming out next April about Alibaba’s rise.

**Read the Alibaba’s Billion dollar spectacle here.

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