Cinderella shoppers: Yes it's a thing, and here's how to get them to your ball

For its latest 4.4 mega sale, Shopee switched up its strategy to hold its first Midnight Mega Sale, providing flash deals which were exclusively available from 12am to 2am. This was to target a new target audience Shopee terms as “Cinderella shoppers” who are essentially consumers who prefer shopping late into the night.  According to Shopee, the platform has seen a steady rise in this consumption pattern amongst its users across the region. The pattern was also evident in Shopee’s 4.4 mega sale, which saw its Midnight Mega Sale segment recording six times more sales, as compared to an average day. In fact, according to Shopee, it saw 2,000 items sold in the first minute of its 4.4 mega sale. 

In an exclusive interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Tiger Wang, head of marketing of Shopee Singapore said it decided to hold the Midnight Mega Sale as it saw a heightened level of shopping activity during midnight in recent months. In March alone, Shopee saw shopping activity in the first two hours of the day almost triple, compared to the same period last year regionally. Additionally, the team also observed females to be the most active Cinderella shoppers across all its markets. Shopee has declined to comment on its exact sales figures. 

Besides Singapore and Malaysia, Wang also revealed that while “Cinderella shoppers” have increased in numbers across all its markets, the top three with the highest growth in this segment of users are Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand, when compared to the same period last year.

“We believe that this trend will likely persist as eCommerce has enabled an ‘always-on’ shopping experience, where people can shop anywhere, at any time,” Wang added.

When asked what could have led to the sudden rise in “Cinderella shoppers”, Wang said there are shoppers who tend to stay up late to be among the first to snap up special deals, flash sales, cashback and discount vouchers that get released at midnight. “This could be due to the ‘kiasu’ (afraid to lose out) mentality, where they want to ensure that their desired products do not run out of stock,” he elaborated.

What does it mean for brands?

However, knowing the growing existence of this target audience is not enough. Brands looking to capitalise on this segment of audience need to ensure that they are fully-equipped to meet the demands of Cinderella shoppers in the short period of open window.

“Timing is key when attracting consumers’ attention. To target these shoppers, brands should ensure that their promotions and deals are readily available and visible when shoppers are online and active at night,” Wang said.

He added that brands looking to tap into this segment of target audience should ensure that they have high discoverability, value, and engagement. This can be done by aligning all marketing efforts including online marketing ads and livestreams to focus on attracting users with engaging content, leading up to the golden hour of 12am.

Brands should also allocate sufficient stock-keeping units, exclusive items, gifts with purchase, vouchers, and deals during the 12am to 2am period to ensure that their products don’t run out too quickly. “Once shoppers are unable to obtain a desired product from your store, they might not revisit [your store],” he explained. Shoppers also know that the best deals are available during this period, thus conditioning their purchasing behaviour over time to look out for special midnight-only deals might give brands an advantage to cut through the marketplace noise.

If brands are looking to target Cinderella shoppers on Shopee, they should work towards increasing their brands’ visibility on the platform, which of course means spending more on ad dollars and upping the price of the partnership. “This goes back to understanding your target audience’s behaviour on Shopee based on historical data and observing which path-to-purchase delivered the highest impact during the midnight shopping time belt,” Wang said.

Most importantly, he added, brands should keep experimenting when it comes to targeting Cinderella shoppers. Each brand is unique and will need to employ strategies that work specially for them. Brands need to test different budget and resource allocation models for instance, to see what shopper profiles respond, and to what kind of tactics.

While the Midnight Mega Sale was a hit with its users, Shopee did not give a definite answer if this was something it will continue to invest in. According to Wang, each of Shopee’s sale festival caters to a variety of different user needs across the region, including the growing segment of Cinderella Shoppers.

“At Shopee, we pride ourselves on our highly localised marketing approach,” he said, adding that when building a marketing strategy, it is important for brands to understand local habits, expectations, and nuances, to ensure that it is tailored to the unique needs of each individual market.

Consumer needs are also constantly changing and shoppers today expect personalised, social, and integrated shopping experiences. To cater to this demand for an elevated shopping experience, Shopee said it is consistently refining its recommendation engines to offer more customised shopping suggestions. At the same time, it works towards improving its in-app engagement features such as Shopee Live and Shopee Feed, to make the online shopping experience even more engaging and social. Overall, the aim is to create innovative experiences that deliver a seamless customer journey across all touchpoints.

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)

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