Every year, people across China and other countries in Asia celebrate their biggest holiday of the year—Chinese New Year— leading to widespread office and factory closures that can range from a few days to 3-4 weeks.
While Chinese New Year (CNY) is an important cultural celebration, the impact of this festive season extends far beyond the borders of China and comes with notable implications for businesses across the globe.
That’s why it’s crucial for eCommerce businesses in Canada to put in the strategic planning necessary before the Lunar New Year holiday begins.
If you rely on selling products manufactured in China, you’ll find yourself having to navigate shutdowns that inevitably cause production and shipping delays. To handle this pivotal event in the global economic calendar, businesses need to take steps in advance to prepare for delays and avoid stockouts.
This year, Chinese New Year falls from February 10 to February 24. To ensure that your eCommerce business thrives during this significant holiday, you’ll want to implement some strategies to help with shipping optimization, international fulfillment, and supply chain efficiency.
Shipping Optimization Strategies for CNY
To mitigate the impact of the CNY shutdown and ensure you start the Year of the Dragon on the right foot, you need to plan your holiday logistics ahead of time.
- Inventory Management: Determine your inventory needs in advance and place your orders early, taking into account customer demand for seasonal goods that are popular choices around Valentine’s Day and Easter.
- Expedited Shipping Options: When ordering inventory early isn’t possible, such as in cases of supply chain delays and changes in demand, speed up your product deliveries by opting for air freight. Because this is significantly more expensive than ocean freight, you can order just enough product to keep your best sellers in stock while you wait for other products to ship by ocean.
- Transparent Communication With Your Customer: Keep customers informed about seasonal shipping schedules. You can do this by updating your online storefront to advise buyers of upcoming delays, shipping time estimates, and potential stockouts. Even after an order is placed, consider managing customer expectations by setting up trigger emails that remind them of possible shipping delays.
Strategies to Enhance Supply Chain Efficiency
Because Chinese New Year shutdowns lead to halted production and seasonal shipping backlogs, savvy business owners recognize the importance of doing everything they can to reduce the possibility of unplanned delays and maintain smooth business operations.
You can minimize CNY supply chain disruptions through:
- Stockpiling Essential Items: Identify your fast-moving items and ensure you maintain a higher stock level of these products in your warehouse.
- Alternative Sourcing: Look into alternative suppliers outside of Mainland China to maintain supply chain efficiency.
- Using Technology for Inventory Management: Implement robust inventory management systems to track stock levels and predict reorder times.
- Maintaining Consistent Communication With Suppliers: Reach out to your suppliers to get information on factory closures, post-holiday production times, and changes in shipping channels.
Managing International Fulfillment
Due to CNY closures, you can expect slowdowns in customs clearance processes as well as increased congestion along shipping routes.
You can manage international fulfillment effectively at this time by:
- Finding a Reliable Fulfillment Service Provider: Working with an experienced logistics partner like eShipper will help you navigate the challenges posed by the festive season, such as sourcing, order fulfillment, inventory stocking, and shipping.
- Understanding Customs Protocols: Stay informed about changes in customs procedures during the festive season to minimize delivery delays.
eCommerce businesses can get blindsided by factory closures in China, and so it’s crucial for online retailers to prepare for CNY effectively and well in advance of the nation’s observance of the Lunar New Year.
Optimizing your shipping, improving supply chain efficiency, and managing your international fulfillment effectively can make all the difference at this challenging time, setting you up for success and winning you customer loyalty.
Once the festivities come to an end and operations resume, you can work to get back to normal as soon as possible by reestablishing communication with suppliers and logistics partners—and of course, tackling any festive season delivery backlogs.
In the meantime, you can focus on identifying the challenges you face this CNY, assessing your response to them, and planning ahead with effective strategies for your holiday logistics next year.
Reach out to us here at eShipper to see how we can make sure your business continues to thrive throughout, and after, the Lunar New Year celebrations.