Pinduoduo has been a trend setter in China’s e-commerce sector by blending socializing with shopping. It was born at a time when there were already two large e-commerce sites, namely Alibaba and JD.com, but it found room for growth, especially in China’s smaller cities and rural areas. It went public in the US last year, less than three years after its launch.
It’s now taking the socializing aspect to the next level, using the wide reach of its app to match individuals with each other, not unlike Tinder.
It’s only a temporary feature though, part of a promotional campaign – or “festival” as Pinduoduo calls it–that also features a tie-in with a popular Chinese matchmaking reality TV show called You Are the One.
Given the real-life struggle many young Chinese face in finding the right partner, this so-called “Xixi Festival” is racking up a lot of attention.
In a press release, Pinduoduo said that between August 3 and August 7, users can access a page where they will find other users who have signed up for this promotion listed in the same way Pinduoduo lists products–albeit without a price. You can then choose to ‘shop’ these potential girlfriends or boyfriends.
Those who have been selected more than 520 times have the chance to participate as one of the candidates in the You Are the One TV show, which has been on China’s TV screens since 2010 and has a wide audience from the country’s cities to rural areas.
A total of 1.8 million users have participated in this ‘festival’ by now, said Pinduoduo, adding that the popularity went beyond the company’s expectation.
Pinduoduo’s Xixi Festival is a spin-off of the Chinese Qixi Festival, which is similar to Valentine’s Day.
There is a noticeable increase in orders for flowers, chocolates and cakes ahead of the Qixi Festival each year on Pinduoduo, said Chen Qiu, vice dean of Pinduoduo’s data research institute, which is what inspired the firm to take the idea further and launch the Xixi Festival.
Attention-grabbing campaigns seem to work when it comes to stimulating shoppers’ appetites.
Pinduoduo said this year more than 3,000 cakes it co-developed with a food brand called Laochenghuangmiao for the occasion and priced at RMB 7.7 ( a little more than USD 1) went out of stock in less than 24 hours after they were launched on August 3.