Let’s face it: the easiest way to build an eCommerce business from scratch is to start with drop shipping products through Shopify. You can put up a Shopify store, import products from Aliexpress, list them on your store at a 30% to 40% markup, and then promote those listings across various channels (Facebook, Youtube, etc.).
Then when buyers purchase from your store, you simply place the order with the manufacturer on Aliexpress, using your payment details and your customer’s shipping address (be sure to include an instruction for the manufacturer not to include an invoice from them or any of their branding on the shipment).
That’s drop shipping in a nutshell. We teach this method in so many of our training courses (Amafy, Elite Ecommerce Bootcamp, etc.). It’s a great way to get started, and key for testing products before moving into direct relationships with manufacturers when you start selling more than 5 or 10 per day of any product.
Chinese New Year: Aliexpress and Alibaba Manufacturers are in China (uh-oh)
The Chinese New Year falls out this year on Saturday January 28. Just as many of us take off a week’s time during our Holiday season, many suppliers will also take at least a week off to be with family and friends for their holiday (some may even extend their vacation for longer).
If you are relying on drop shipping from China this could mean a slowdown in production leading up to Chinese New Year, and then subsequent delays in processing and shipping orders during the holidays. So how can you prepare yourself for this and set your customer’s expectations in a way that won’t prevent them from shopping with you or returning to your store?
Step 1: List the eCommerce Products That Might be Most Affected by Chinese New Year
Before delving into our suppliers and contacting each one (that’s Step 2) take a look at your ad accounts on your various promotional channels. Depending on where you are in the process there are sure to be about 5 to 10 products getting a lot of focus from you right now. These are the feeder products that you are either testing or selling right now.
The suppliers of these products should be the first place you focus in your outreach for Step 2. Like most drop shippers you probably have a good 50+ products from many different suppliers. Make it a goal to reach out to the suppliers for your Feeder Products first (by the day after you read this would be our suggestion!).
Step 2: Contact Your Chinese Suppliers NOW and Find Out Their Schedule
Depending on how you populated drop ship products on your stores you may have a few suppliers or many suppliers. Our members know that we suggest using the popular Oberlo app to import products from Aliexpress to Shopify. If you have done that, the best way to see which suppliers your listings are with is through the Oberlo app itself.
- Go to your Apps on Shopify and click to open the Oberlo Dashboard
- Mouse over the “tag” icon on the left side bar to click on the option for “My Products”
- Click the title of each product to open it in Aliexpress
- Under the image section you should see a field for “Contact Seller”
- Send them an email asking them about the holiday and how it will affect fulfillment
You should also take this opportunity to exchange Skype or What’s App information so that you can be in contact with them if you need them. In your message be sure to cover the following points:
- Ask whether they are in China and observing the Chinese New Year (although Aliexpress is a Chinese website not all suppliers are China based – they won’t be affected at all!)
- Get exact dates when they will be closed for the holiday so you can communicate any potential delays to customers.
- Ask when they’ll stop processing orders and start again, as there may even be delays in processing before they leave on holiday.
Communication is the key to success in most areas of business and your suppliers are no different.
Step 3: Smart Advertising for eCommerce During Chinese New Year
By the time you get to this Step you should definitely know what the status of your feeder product suppliers will be during the holiday. Depending on what that is you might want to consider scaling back or even pausing advertising on those products as needed.
So, with this knowledge, do you need to hide products or shut down your store during the holiday?
This depends on how long the supplier is taking off. If you have a product that sells really well, and the supplier plans on taking a month’s leave, then you may want to hide that specific product on your store temporarily, starting from about a week or two before closing until the supplier is scheduled to come back to production.
It is important not to close your store completely during this time, though, as this will scare your customers. Imagine ordering something and then seeing a week later that the store closed! Yikes! So, you want to stay active on social media, answer any questions that may come in from customers in a timely fashion, and keep going as well as you can during this slowed period.
Maintain honesty and open communication with your customers. Post something on your site regarding slight delays due to the Chinese New Year, or if you’d rather they didn’t know that your products come from China, then simply write between the following dates, there will be a slight delay in receipt of orders.
Where do you place this notice? You have several options: You can have a banner on your whole site or you can put this on specific product pages that are affected by the delays. You should also include a reminder in any of your emails to your customers post-purchase, as well, to remind them and in case they didn’t see the message on your site.
The most important thing here is to be prepared. Keep track of your packages and how they’re shipping, be proactive in letting customers know regarding the status of their orders, and realize that this is just a short period where sales may be down a bit. You can also focus your marketing efforts on products that do not have Chinese-based suppliers, so that those products see an increase in sales versus the products that you won’t promote for these couple of weeks.
A week or two after the Chinese New Year, everything should go back to normal aside from a few suppliers who may have taken extra leave, but with your preparedness, you will know this in advance. The key here is to prepare and not to worry, and if you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Really Successful support team at reallysuccessfulsupport.com. We are happy to help out in any way that we can.