Some days seem much shorter than they really are, especially when work needs to be done and deadlines have to be met, yet it doesn’t come as a surprise anymore to see a huge number of people staying up late at night at least once a month. It’s a bit reassuring and maybe even slightly unsettling to know that one is not alone in sacrificing a few hours of sleep in order to get the best possible deals available via online shopping.
The “Double Double” and payday sales of e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Lazada have become so ingrained in our culture that, despite knowing that both our wallets and bodies will pay for it soon after, we continue to log on late at night during these sales.
What are Double Double and payday sales?
The pandemic brought about a brutal but arguably necessary global lockdown that changed the way we live our lives. Although shopping online was already an option pre-pandemic, it was only during the stricter lockdowns when a huge majority were forced to try it out despite initial misgivings. Common apprehensions back then, which may still be applicable today, include the fear of trying out something new, as well as tech anxiety, privacy concerns including identity theft, credit card misuse, delivery mishaps, and having the wrong item delivered, with the stress of having to request for a return or refund afterward. However, the need to purchase safely without leaving the house outweighed these concerns and forced consumers to give these apps a try.
To encourage consumers to continue this newly-formed shopping habit, sites such as Shopee and Lazada have relied on time-tested practices such as offering vouchers for discounts and free shipping. Coupons, an earlier form of vouchers, originated in the late 19th century when store owners gave out handwritten tickets that could be used to claim a free glass of Coca-Cola. These coupons eventually made their way to newspapers, coupon booklets, and flyers. Now printed professionally, companies hired staff to hand out coupons in malls before cost-cutting drove stores to just include them in deliveries or leave them stacked beside the cashiers. Eventually, coupons and vouchers evolved further with the boom of the digital age. No longer restricted to print, vouchers are now either attached to email messages or spread all over websites. Their time-bound, limited, and exclusive nature excites customers, even more, pressuring them to use these before they expire. Some vouchers may even be used simultaneously to maximize gains (known as “stackable”) although Shopee recently changed its policy on this.
While there are already plenty of discounts available on these sites, the monthly Double Double and payday sales are assumed to carry the best deals. When a day happens to be the same as the number corresponding to a certain month, it is called a Double Double sale day. For example, May 5 (5.5), June 6 (6.6), and July 7 (7.7) fall under this category. Payday sales occur in the middle and at the end of each month, coinciding with the days employees usually get paid. The strategy here is to capture their target market’s interest before the consumers get the chance to spend their salary.
For these sales, E-commerce sites build up the hype pretty early, many days before a sale event on various social media platforms. Commercials with catchy jingles and lovable personalities that carry with them a huge fan base are aired to promote birthday sales, seasonal sales, payday sales, and especially the Double Double sales. From young children performing these jingles on numerous social media platforms to unskippable ads launching right before you watch videos online, people are beginning to wonder: Are the monthly Double Double sales and payday sales still effective?
Do store owners still consider these sales effective?
Participation in these events is voluntary, but the reaction of store owners who do join in is positive, as many look forward to this event every month. If they didn’t join, then they would get left behind, and their items would not be showcased during the event. Their monthly sales and store visitors have increased because of this marketing strategy that creates a sudden demand without them even having to exert much effort in advertising and promoting the sale, so they can focus instead on creating store awareness. For example, joining platform campaigns on YouTube will help people know of their products.
Low prices also allow customers to try out new products, as they would be more willing to risk spending their hard-earned money if they did not have to invest a lot. If they end up not liking the product, at least they would not regret it as much compared to if they paid full price. If they enjoy the product, then they would come back and patronize the store even after the item is no longer on sale. Store owners view this particular scenario as a win-win situation.
Consumers already have the mindset that they will buy on these dates, so just a little prodding via the event can go a long way. Products that potential buyers need to think over before buying suddenly become impulse purchases because of the limited time given to them to decide, as well as supplies slowly running out in real-time, as seen whenever one refreshes the webpage.
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One downside is that the platforms promote packages during the event, which sellers have to pay for. If a seller chooses not to get the packages, then they don’t have as much exposure. E-commerce charges, as well as ads per click, can also be very expensive, but they can be viewed as investments to drive customer traffic and promote growth. As a seller, one cannot ever feel tired of these sales; the hustle is real, and one must exhaust all possible means to ensure that sales do not lag behind. Low monthly sales may result in losing Preferred Seller status along with all its benefits and privileges..
Are consumers tired of these sales?
Various consumers feel differently when it comes to Double Double and payday sales. Some do not really pay attention to the dates and continue on with their regular shopping on non-sale days since some essential products such as milk, diapers, cleaning materials, and wet wipes end up still being cheaper on these platforms as opposed to those sold in markets and groceries. Definitely, online stores have fewer expenses compared to their physical counterparts that have to worry about overhead costs, staffing issues, and lease payments. Flash sales are events that also contribute to reassuring customers there isn’t any need to wait for particular dates before buying. Prices remain low during flash sales. To avoid confusion, customers are encouraged to check out the stores they want to buy from to see if these will potentially lower their prices, or if they will post only specific items as discounted on-sale dates (there are Double Double frames that serve as indicators); not all of them participate in these sales.
Other consumers still find the sales effective and mark these dates on their personal calendars. They are very much willing to wait, especially if the products that they would buy, such as shampoo and soap, are used by their families regularly. Since one is going to spend for these anyway, why not schedule buying on a Double Double date? They also stress the importance of buying from Shopee and Lazada brand stores because these are the ones that often give out significant discounts, and it’s assured that one would be receiving legitimate goods instead of foreign knockoffs. Note that many big-name brands, such as Sony, conduct their sales a few days before the Double Double date.
Some consumers, however, feel these sales have worn out their welcome, having reached a saturation point with all the ads, songs, and hype. The excitement is no longer there as sales have become routinary, dropping their prices for a few days before reverting back to their original prices. They still take note of these Double Double dates, but only to check out their items on these dates, accumulated over time inside their virtual shopping carts. Also, as so many products go on sale in the same time period, many customers end up getting distracted with too many options, and some end up following a budget and limiting their purchases. A cap on discounts also discourages many shoppers from buying too much on a Double Double date.
Still, other consumers do not want the added stress of having to compete with many others when checking out at the stroke of midnight. For in-demand products with limited stock, it almost always is a race, based on the Internet capability of competing parties. Platform members who have achieved certain levels or tiers usually don’t participate in these sales because of the perks that they already possess.
Out of all the seasons, consumers agree that Christmas sales (12.12) are what many look forward to, expecting huge discounts and clearance markdowns plus the added convenience of not having to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other shoppers in physical stores. The next much-anticipated sale is on 11.11 (Singles Day), traditionally the biggest one-day sale of the year.
Is there a future for Double Double and payday sales?
Revenue for e-commerce stores might dip during some months, but that could be attributed to the Covid-19 alert level dropping down to Level 1; thus, more shoppers are going out again to make their purchases instead of relying on online platforms. However, some evidence shows store owners will continue to support these sales.
First, while not as noticeable as online sales, brick and mortar stores (such as National Bookstore) have always implemented these kinds of Double Double sales in the guise of monthly events, and were always successful at it. Many of these stores have been following the traditional seasonal sales calendar for decades:
- New Year Celebration (January for unsold Christmas stock to make way for new arrivals)
- Valentine’s (February)
- Graduation (March)
- Spring/Summer/Easter (April)
- Summer/Mother’s Day (May)
- Back to School/Father’s Day (June)
- Rainy Days (July/August/September)
- Halloween (October)
- Thanksgiving/Halloween/pre-Christmas (November), and
- Christmas (December)
The Double Double sales appear to have evolved from that, and store owners confirm that they still gain more sales on these dates.
Second, it is important for stores to turn inventory constantly, and digital stores are no exceptions. Additionally, online shops with limited warehousing and fulfillment capabilities will run into problems with space. While solutions that automate logistical concerns are trending, not all shops are able to invest in these. Old stocks must be removed to make space for the new.
Third, any move to boost revenue is more than welcome during this pandemic. Stores continue to struggle with generating cash flow and sales are just now picking up, so every bit helps, including liquidating unsold stock and excess inventory that hasn’t moved for months or maybe even years.
Fourth, these sales drum up interest, which may translate into more business. Once a consumer is on the page of a digital store, more often than not, s/he looks at other items to maximize shipping costs, especially if there are vouchers that reduce or eliminate shipping fees based on a total minimum spend. If the item on sale is a loss leader, the seller is banking on the consumer to spend on related items.
Finally, store owners believe there will always be an influx of customers new to online shopping. Having gone through lockdowns that necessitated a work-from-home setup, many consumers have increased their level of comfort with technology. These new platform users will experience the same high that earlier users felt when they first participated in a Double Double sale. Existing users still hooked on the craze will continue to have the fear of missing out, as these platforms leverage on both scarcity and urgency.
People like to shop, especially if what’s offered to them is cheap. A rule many go by is to never buy anything at full price. Knowing that you spent less on a product that you want, or are at least interested in, builds up a good feeling within. While store owners and consumers may feel differently about these sales, Double Double and payday sales remain effective and are definitely here to stay, bound to continue, and maybe even evolve some more in the future.