The Chinese New Year’s Holiday and Why it’s Important for All Amazon Sellers to Know About It
Dear sellers, please book the coming up February on your calendars as your next most important month for this year. Following our latest post regarding maintaining the momentum, the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday, if you heard about it or not, contains a great importance for every reliable and successful seller and therefore must be understood completely and planned properly.
The Chinese New Year festival is one of the biggest human events on the planet, in which the whole population of China (about 1.5 billion people!!) is going on vacation. During this time, most if not all companies and factories are closed. Official dates are changing each year and this year’s official dates are scheduled for 5th – 11st of February, However, the total period of intermission may prolong for up to 40 days, with no particular constancy. The first reason is that during the holiday Chinese people from all over the country are traveling from cities to the rural areas to meet their families, a journey that may last for several days for each direction. In order to provide maximum time with their loved ones, in which they meet only at this time of the year, most of the factories allow their workers to start traveling sooner. Thus, factories are closing up earlier and the whole manufacturing along with it. The second reason for the extension is the time wasted on arguments between employees and managers about wages and conditions, or the fact that the employees missed the chance to buy the ticket for the right train that would take them back to work on time.
How it affects Amazon Sellers?
Beside issues on land which delay production overall, there are additional with all that’s regarding shipping and logistics. In the period before and during the intermission, orders are gathering up and cavities of ships and planes are loaded completely. As space is getting shorter the prices are getting higher and sellers from all over the world are losing their minds trying to send their products as early as possible before the unknown period of the Chinese New Year collects its victims. Most of the E-commerce private/industrial sellers (Aliexpress, Alibaba, brand networks and more) buy their products from factories in China and that is why demands are substantial. Amazon sellers are not exceptional at this matter, and this is the part where you get into this story.
As has been reviewed, sellers are facing two major important momentums during the CNY:
1) the period before the holiday begins and 2) the period after the holiday has ended. Besides the issue of arrival time, quality of products may be at risk as well. Workers are often stressful from the amount of work and their coming up journey before the Chinese New Year and do not pay enough attention to their outcomes. Poor production and delayed deliveries may significantly harm the seller’s image and sales for the future respectively, but most importantly since most if not all of the customers are NOT AWARE of this critical event.
What Should you do as a seller?
make sure you have a full stock of products before the Chinese New Year. After the official dates are over, orders that have been accumulated during the holiday (since sales section of the factories stays open), in addition of those that gathered up before, all will make it even harder for you to keep up the pace and put you in the “out of stock” position. Another issue is that while some factories make their own materials (and usually expensive in accordance), others do not; therefore additional time is added while collecting materials from the smaller factories, which share the same problems as mentioned before. Thus, manufacturing time is doubled if not prepared properly, and in case your inventory is empty after the holiday has ended, your momentum is lost and other sellers will take advantage of it.
In order to avoid a situation in which there will be no space for your deliveries, book your shipping at least three weeks in advance. That way you gain greater chances to fill all of your stocks as scheduled, no pressure will hunt you or the Chinese workers, and no extra money will be wasted on shipping space and workers that work during the holiday for extra pay.
Promises vs Reality
Get skeptical about shipping deadlines during this period. Even if your agents will promise you there are no reasons to worry, that the factory has its own transportation rout or that the space of your container is safe on the ship, simply don’t believe them. The best thing you can do to ensure that all of your products will be delivered in time before the holiday begins is to sign them with a contract accompanied to the transaction that’s obligating them to ship your products on time and in the case it will not be fulfilled you will receive a proper compensation. Make a list of your products that are manufactured in China; mark those which are ordered on a relatively regular basis and calculate roughly the time that takes to deliver them to your warehouses in the US/Europe/JP. Ones you’re in control and have the proper arrangement of your products, you will have the ability to distinguish the ones you need to order quickly and in a larger amount before the Chinese New Year. In case you didn’t get the chance to deliver those products on time, increase the product price so you will not get into “Out of stock” situation that it’s very difficult to get back from.
What you should not do as a seller
Most importantly, don’t lose the “after-holiday” momentum. The information you own now regarding all possible delays accompanied to the Chinese New Year should provide you with the advantage to keep on selling, while productions of other sellers are still stocked somewhere waiting for the Chinese workers to come back working at the factory/airports/ports, in a matter they are still interested in keeping their jobs. If you ship from China – Always stay true to your customers. Don’t promise giving anything you don’t or cannot provide. Put a small pause of sales during the holiday official dates and ones the holiday comes to an end, and you do have a full stock, push your sales hard (especially during Amazon gift cards period), leaving dust to your competitors.
How can you take advantage?
Keep your stock full, always.
You can always sell your extra products cheaply or in the worst case break even. It’s always better to have more than less. Make sure your stock arrived at Amazon’s warehouse (FBA Sellers) before the holiday or at least on his way.
Time to get the 1st Page.
Crush your competitors. Some of them will fail filling up their stocks after the holiday’s rush, following their inventory’s delay. “Out of stock” will take your competitors down in searching results, even if they were at first page on the most competitive keyword. You can create keyword promotion here.
Take advantage of the Chinese seller’s absence.
A huge amount of Chinese sellers will be disconnected from their stores when the critical time will come – “The Returning Season”. People tend to send back gifts they have received, some damaged products they got during the holidays, items that arrived late and etc. That is the reason shoppers are looking for replacements – be there for them.
Keep on a good relationship with your suppliers.
One’s the other side is aware of your worries and needs, understanding you are a human being and not a computer message, it may take care of you better and make sure your products will be transferred on time and in a good condition. Its recommended to send your salesperson a holiday gift, they appreciate it a lot and will be rewarded further for both sides. Still, stay skeptical and don’t feel bad about adding the safety contract that mentioned earlier.
Get Amazon reviews.
During this period, make sure you’re giving the best service you can so shoppers will notice you are Super-Supportive. Create qualitative follow-up email messages for 2018 with a review request, so they wouldn’t miss the opportunity to review your products! You can create follow up thank you messages here. Most importantly, don’t forget to check out next year’s Chinese New Year dates and mark them on your calendar’s schedule☺