Using AliExpress to find products for your drop-shipping business? Things go smoothly all year long, especially if you take the time to only work with the best vendors. Then, at the beginning of every exciting new year, Chinese New Year happens, which can slow down or even stop your customers’ shipments.
So, if you’re wondering how a holiday could affect your e-commerce shipping business, consider that no goods are made or shipped during Chinese New Year. None. And you need to get ready (and let your customers know) for that time so you don’t get complaints or lose service.
Because the whole country is getting ready to go on vacation for three weeks, mistakes and delays in shipping are bound to happen. That’s right. But e-commerce shipping business owners who have been in the game for a while know how to handle this once-a-year event, and some use pretty good strategies to keep up with sales demand right after Chinese New Year.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to handle Chinese New Year every year. Dropship Corporation’s marketing team also has some ideas for how you can use the “shut down” time to actually boost sales with product wait lists and other marketing techniques.
When does Chinese New Year happen, and what is it?
Depending on what day December 31 falls on in North America, most businesses will close early and be closed all day on January 1, which is a legal holiday. When you hear about how much fun people have in China during the New Year, you might feel a little bit envious.
Almost every business is closed for three weeks during Chinese New Year. During the holiday, families travel all over the country to see other members of their family. This travel time is needed because a lot of workers come from small villages near the city and moved to small apartments in big cities like Shenzhen, Xiamen, Shantou, or Zhuhai, where there are more jobs that pay more.
The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, so it moves every year. It usually happens between the end of January and the middle of February. Keep these dates in mind and make sure your shipping and return policies are ready for them.
When Chinese New Year begins:
Chinese New Year is a time for family, so people who work in big cities go “home” to celebrate with their local community. There are many festivals, fireworks, live music, and dance events that bring people together to celebrate the country’s rich culture.
China has a problem with industrial production that keeps coming up: sometimes rural workers who go home for Chinese New Year don’t come back to their manufacturing jobs in the cities. Or, sometimes, they move to new cities where they can find better jobs.
Every year, shipping will slow down a bit for about four weeks after Chinese New Year is over. This is because factories may be affected by workers who are on vacation or aren’t there.
Ideas to help online business owners during Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a great time to catch up on administrative tasks for your online store(s), like adding new blog posts, researching products for the Spring and Summer seasons, and doing SEO work.
After you’ve put up a banner or popup to let your customers know how orders will be filled during Chinese New Year, think about some other ways you can save money and bring in a lot of new customers and sales after the holiday. Here are some tips from the Dropship Corporation marketing team.
Cut advertising costs temporarily
Knowing that Chinese New Year will have an effect on your drop shipping business for one to three weeks, it’s a good idea to stop advertising or spend a lot less on it during this time. It doesn’t make sense to spend money to get more customers if shipping times and fulfillment will slow down.
Instead, plan to move your advertising budget around a few days before the holiday ends and think about starting a new campaign or promotion to get people back to your site.
Have a limited-time Door Crasher or Spring Sale Countdown
If consumer websites like Wish.com have taught us anything, it’s that online shoppers don’t mind waiting for certain products if they know they’re getting a good deal. Wish has a delivery window of two to six weeks, which seems like an eternity in the age of Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping, but there is a big price difference. Smart online shoppers want to save money, so they look for ways to do that.
So, what’s the best way to get ready for a known shipping delay and keep getting orders through your online store? With a great deal, you can also celebrate Chinese New Year.
Find some popular products that are in style and offer them at a discount, but don’t ship them until after Chinese New Year is over. Spring decorations, clothes, and tech toys are great examples of products that your customers won’t mind waiting for if they know they’ll get a good deal.
Instead of trying to get through the slow shipping period by apologizing to your customers and telling them how Chinese New Year will affect e-commerce goods and delivery, make it an annual sales event or “door crasher” that your customers will look forward to (and tell their friends about).
Consider putting a clock on your website that counts down the three weeks until Chinese New Year. This could be your FOMO (fear of missing out) call to action. Make sure to tell your customers how long it will take to get their order and how much they will save with the annual sale discount. The special door crasher sale will end when Chinese New Year is over. Make it fun!
Diversify Your Vendors
AliExpress is without a doubt the biggest and most varied place for e-commerce business owners to buy wholesale goods of good quality. But there are a lot of independent sellers and makers who offer the same services (and in some cases, very similar products).
The main reason drop shippers buy from AliExpress is to make more money. If you run a business in North America, you can also buy from U.S.-based sellers on AliExpress. If you want to make sure that your sales don’t stop completely during the three-week annual shipping shutdown, you might want to think about getting products from more than one vendor.
Want to make sure you have good relationships with your most important Chinese suppliers before Chinese New Year? Don’t forget to wish them a happy holiday and thank them for helping your business grow by sending them an e-greeting. When the manufacturer gets back to work after the holidays, a little thanks and kindness can go a long way toward getting your orders done first.
Keep in mind that some AliExpress sellers prepare for months to make sure they have enough stock on hand. Don’t think that all orders will be put on hold until the holiday is over.
In recent years, it has become common for factories to keep only a skeleton staff during Chinese New Year so that they can still fill some orders.
Talk to your vendors ahead of time to find out if they will ship and fulfill the products you have in your store. This will help you make plans.