In part 1 of this series, we talked about some promotional campaign ideas to capture more sales during the Lunar New Year shopping season. Here, we will look into preparing your operations to handle the high order volume.
When the Lunar New Year season comes around, consumers will be tapping into online shopping for the convenience it offers in making purchases like clothes or gifts. With this, you can look forward to your e-commerce store getting higher sales volumes and enjoy higher revenue.
This increase in sales also means that your order fulfilments must be able to keep up.
Fulfilling your customers’ orders during this peak period requires meticulous planning to make operations efficient. You’ll need to ensure that you keep your business on top of orders and deliver a seamless online shopping experience to your customers.
One way to keep up with this is to find a way to start fulfilling orders earlier. Fulfilling orders earlier will help ease your operational workload, as you spread your deliveries across more days. This way, you won’t be too swamped by more orders than you can handle during the peak periods.
By having early bird promotions, your consumers are more likely to buy earlier and you can begin fulfilling orders earlier. You can refer to our previous article for some ideas on how to promote your online business effectively before the Lunar New Year holidays.
Since operations will also be disrupted during public holidays, it helps to know when the public holidays happen in each country to plan around closures during these dates.
The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, officially starts on 5th February 2019. However, countries like China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea will also have a public holiday during the eve, or the days leading up to the Spring Festival.
In Taiwan and Vietnam (Vietnam’s Lunar New Year is known as Tet), the public holidays will last slightly more than a week. On the other hand, South Korea’s productivity will remain largely unaffected with only 3 public holidays for Seollal, South Korea’s Lunar New Year festival.
The Lunar New Year holidays are also known as the golden week in China, where some companies in China will allow their workers to take an additional week off before the Lunar New Year to visit their family. Your supply chain may also be affected by the holidays with suppliers closing early in those countries.
To handle this disruption, you should have a backup plan for your product’s supply chain.
If your suppliers are based in countries where the public holidays are long, you should ask your manufacturers about when they stop taking orders for items.
Afterwards, it helps to anticipate the demand for your products and choose which ones to ship over from your suppliers affected by the long Lunar New Year holidays. Take into account how much warehouse space you’ll need, because if you need more warehouse space, prices for warehousing may spike due to a shortage in space during peak periods like the holiday season.
If you don’t have enough warehouse space, you could ship them into a distribution centre for temporary storage in Hong Kong or Singapore since these countries’ public holidays do not extend that long. Putting items in Hong Kong and Singapore’s distribution centres will ensure that the distribution centres are open. You will then need to look for a shipping partner who can complete cross-border shipping and last mile deliveries from Hong Kong or Singapore to your customers’ locations during the Lunar New Year period.
Imports to and exports from China will slow down during the days leading up to and throughout Lunar New Year. To prepare for these closures, you should also communicate with your logistics service provider (LSP) and ask about the affected dates and when shipping resumes.
To tackle the increase in sales volumes in the CNY season, it helps to engage with an express courier who is price competitive and can deliver these parcels quickly. LSPs may also experience an increased volume in parcel deliveries, so it also helps to have multiple shipping partners. Alternatively, you could engage an integrated logistics shipping partner (4PL) who can help to assign the parcel shipments to their partnering LSPs.
If the inevitable shipping delays happen due to unforeseen circumstances, you would need to be transparent with your customers and keep your customers updated.
The boost in sales will be well worth overcoming the challenges that come with handling a high volume of orders. By planning in advance with your suppliers and shipping partners, you can maximise your e-commerce business’s revenue during the Lunar New Year and ensure that your customers can have a seamless online shopping experience.
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