Don’t know about you, but we’re getting pretty excited that it’s going to be November… Because it’s going to be Singles’ Day! Screw mopping around and wallowing in self-pity – if you’re single you should be out having a ball, because there is nothing more gratifying than spending all your disposable income on things you would never have be able to afford if you were attached yourself.
But before you fire up that credit card, don’t forget that this is China we’re talking about – 1.3 billion people plus minus a couple of million opportunistic shoppers from outside of China (yours truly included) getting ready for the world’s biggest online brawl.
So our editors have combined their powers to come up with 5 Singles’ Day Survival Hacks! #yourewelcome
Background on Taobao 11.11 Shopping Festival / 淘宝双十一购物狂欢节
Held on 11 Nov annually, Taobao’s Singles’ Day Festival lasts only for 24 hours, and is usually limited only to shops under Tmall. You can expect massive discounts on Singles’ Day sales items, PLUS free domestic delivery.
A dedicated microsite for the festival is usually launched. Check out this year’s microsite here.
Survival Hack No. 1: Make a shopping list with the navigation bar
Ok we caught you with your eyes mid-roll. This hack might seem pretty obvious, but creating a shopping list will help you to stay focused while you’re getting overwhelmed by a zillion other offers for things that you don’t need.
Here’s where the navigation bar comes in handy. Found on the left side of the page, the navi-bar categorizes products on sale and works almost like a shop directory. It’s super handy for figuring what’s on sale in each category.
Here’s a quick glance at the different categories with English translations for the key-categories:
Each category links to a menu of shops that are taking part in the sale.
Let’s take “Furniture” as an example. This is what you see after you click on it:
Spend a little time searching for a shop you like.
This step is super useful because it ensures that you are shopping only at stores participating in Singles’ Day. Participating products are also indicated with a pink banner stating “双11来了” – so keep a look out for it!
Survival Hack No. 2: Complete your shopping BEFORE 11 Nov
11 Nov may be the actual sales date, but it is definitely not the day that you should start shopping.
Actual shopping should be done once the microsite is up (that means now!) so that you have more than 24-hours to browse, compare and drop the items you want in your shopping cart. All that’s left will be for you to check out on 11 Nov.
Checking out is usually a lengthy process too, because of the deluge of transactions happening all at the same time. During Singles’ Day, the system will take longer than usual to reflect a paid transaction. So if you’ve paid, but it still appears that it hasn’t gone through, give it sometime and keep refreshing the page, instead of jumping to make a second
Survival Hack No. 3: Take advantage of pre-sales (预售) benefits
Before the actual day hits, lots of shops offer pre-sale benefits that can be yours in return for a small deposit.
The “pre-sale benefits” allow you to
- Reserve items. This is great if the item you want is popular.
- Enjoy an additional discount. How it works: the deposit is used to offset a larger amount when you make your purchase. E.g. you paid a RMB50 deposit, but on 11 Nov, this deposit can be used to knock off RMB80 from your price tag.
Pre-sale benefit differs from shop to shop, however.
Here’s an example:
“红谷旗舰店/Hong Gu Qi Jian Dian” offers 3 types of pre-sell benefits:
Left: deposit RMB50, use as RMB100 to offset the amount on the sale day.
Middle: deposit RMB45, use as RMB90 to offset the amount on the sale day.
Right: deposit RMB40, use as RMB80 to offset the amount on the sale day.
Survival Hack No. 4: Look out for additional promo vouchers at check out!
So you made it to check out! Congratulations. Stop and make a quick check before you pay because most participating shops have easter eggs for their shoppers in the form of additional promo vouchers that you can grab and redeem.
You can expect 2 types of vouchers:
- “满AA减BB”: spend up to AA and you receive a discount of BB
- “满AA送CC”: spend up to AA to receive CC free
You can usually find out what vouchers are up for grabs at the home page of each shop.
Here’s an example:
Male clothing shop “Texwood” offers promo vouchers at check-out that allow you
- RMB50 off your purchase when you spend RMB699
- RMB100 off your purchase when you spend RMB1099
… and so on.
After clicking on the voucher you want, you’ll be directed to this page:
Hit “确认领取” to redeem your voucher. The voucher will appear in your shopping cart, next to the items saved from the shop. All you need to do is to choose to use the voucher before proceeding to checkout, where the discount will be applied to your total amount. Score!
Survival Hack No. 5: Sit back, relax and let the dispatch do it’s job.
Okay so this isn’t exactly a hack – but it’s a useful tip for keeping yourself sane!
Because of the huge amount of transactions, don’t fret if your dispatch takes longer than usual.
Sellers usually list dispatch waiting times in the product description, so do take note.
Here’s an example:
This seller indicates “发货：付清全款15天内发货” in the beige banner below. This means that the item will only be dispatched within 15 days after payment is made.
From past experience, if waiting time isn’t indicated, it usually takes around 1-2 weeks for the product to be dispatched. Popular items usually take longer. Remember that this dispatch only refers to domestic delivery.
International delivery usually takes another 1 – 1.5 weeks, so you’ll have to wait about 3 weeks before receiving your item.
Happy Singles’ Day!