AS 14: Epic Amazon Chinese New Year Seller Strategies
04 Feb 2016
Chinese New Years is a pin-droppingly, slow time of the year for Amazon & manufacturers. On December 1st, my manufacturer let me know well in advance that Chinese New Years comes in February, and according to Wikipedia – it last from Feb 8th -13th. Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. It was created on honor deities as well as ancestors. Cool fact: It’s celebrated by not just China, but Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. That fact is important because, if your sourcing outside of China, you too could be affected by if your manufacturer belongs to one of those countries.
When my manufacturer notified me, I immediately placed an order of 4000 units. 8 days later I watched my units moving fairly fast and placed another 4000 units. My manufacturer assured me that my order will be ready before the big holidays.
As February came closer, I told my my manufactuer I would be okay if they shipped my units after the holiday. In episode 11-13, I mentioned the AIG Gamble, where I calculated my future earnings and placed orders based on that. Because the Chinese holidays we’re soon upon me, I told them, “Hey guys, I know your extremely busy over there, so it’s okay if the shipment comes after the Chinese Holiday.” My manufacturers we’re indeed loaded with work. And I was short on cash. They must have told other suppliers the same thing in December, and everyone frantically placed orders, and they had more than they could handle.
So my manufacturers we’re relieved to have a slight decreased weight load, I was relieved that I’d have more time to come up with $35,000 dollars.
With China though, what if this scenario played out, What if I had Fully paid for inventory in December, but due to the overwhelming manufacturer workload, and farmers going back to their home towns in early Februrary, and then that delivery could not make it for that whole month as well. That would be bad. I would be out of stock for an entire month. So what does this all mean?
Always carry 4-5 months of stock. Always. Don’t rely on your manufactuer finish deadline times. Expect them to be 2 months late. This has happened to me every time I order. And it could happen to you too. Order 4-5 months in stock. Running out of inventory is one of the worst things that can happen for a thriving business, your best seller rating goes down, much of your marketing efforts, ppc, fb advertising, would be wasted. I’ve realized, its very easy to sell stock if you have too much, by decreasing the price. Worst thing that happens is you break even.
However, at this stage in the game, it’s not “as easy” to get stock quickly in, from China. Having lots of stock is better than having too few stock.
So perhaps my suppliers could have been February’s time crush, but maybe not. For your business, this holiday can allow you to gauge your manufacturers response time, production time, and output on a realistic level. I’ve seen far too many sellers, mention that their manufacturers did not meet their proposed finish time.
Another major strategy I deploy, that is critical to my businesses success is continually building my 1 to 1 relationship with my manufacturer, especially during the holiday. I believe this is often overlooked, by money-hungry, sellers, forgetting that their endpoint connection of their business is a human being.
The importance of being respectful, and understanding of one of the biggest chineese holidays is critical to building a solid foundation to your business. For example, one of the last things I said to my manufacturer was, “ Enjoy your Chinese holiday! Stay healthy and safe!” And I continually reiterate without directly saying, I do care about the personal things going in your life. I’m not just some American trying to reap the rewards of your manufacturing company.
For example, a couple months back:
When my manufacturer was having laptop issues, I helped them out. I’m above average on the tech-savvy scale, and guided her through all the potential issues causing her laptop not to turn on. Was your battery not fully connected? Your charger could be defective, Is the powerbutton stuck?
These little things, build a repport with your manufacturer.
One day she mentioned…
The skies here are so polluted…and showed me a picture of the city she worked in, and how everyone had to wear pollution masks.
Hearing this actually made me sad. In a sense, I was responsible for this. And she knew. But I also went on to explain to her how anti-smog technologies are in the works, and one day, I will build one of these game changer companies that help improve the world.
Do you see where I’m getting at. I’ve become good friends with my manufacturer over time by building small report over the months. When I email her sometimes, I cc’ her bosses, thanking her for all the great work she does for us, but directly emailing it to her and addressing her, such that, her boss sees her good work and gets promoted.
Business relationships are half the battle in beating your competition. Your supplier contact works day and night ensuring the quality of your product. If they label your products, you want your products labeled perfectly. If they do the quality testing for you, you want them to prepare your units awesomely. If theirs small mistakes in your product quantities to destinations, there’s a likely hood of them correcting your issues, being patient with you. IT GOES A LONG WAY.
And I don’t say this out of theory. My report with my manufacturer is strong, because I care about them.
As my mom always said, Treat people the way you want to be treated.
So just to wrap up, treating your manufacturer well can potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars, by them giving you the best quotes available, by them ensuring product delivery and quality, by them improving your product design consistently, by them giving you tips about how you can improve your product, and also by them showing you future products that they are releasing.
The advantages are endless when you build a good relationship at the source of your product.
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