November and December of every year is the peak period for shipments all over the world. Sorting centers get inundated which result in extended delays. 2016 was not spared from this tragedy, so was customer satisfaction. A shipment which usually takes 10+ days took close to 2 months. What follows are charge backs, refunds and agony.
Shipments in China had it the worst partly due to its special shopping days, which is 11.11 and 12.12. The former is a special sale day in China eCommerce sites to celebrate being single while the latter is a follow up shopping day to the previous one. 11.11 generated
USD17.79 billion gross merchandise volume in 2016 and is also the world’s largest shopping day.
Alternate Shipping Methods
Good thing about shipping from China is the massive choices of couriers. Many foreign national couriers operate here, eg. NL Post, Deutsche Post, Sweden Post, Singapore Post, Malaysia Post and more. If you’re shipping to these countries, why not use their national courier instead?
There are also lesser known dedicated shipping lines to major destinations in the world. This can be found in China fulfillment companies like sendfromchina.com and also floship.com (based in Hong Kong).
Express shipping is fastest and probably the best choice but they come at a price. However, express couriers like DHL was badly affected by delays for a short period in 2016. For the Middle East countries, Aramex is a good alternative with very competitive pricing.
Local eCommerce Fulfillment in Different Countries
If you’re a seller shipping products to the world from China (as a drop shipper, from China fulfillment center or directly from manufacturer), you should be looking at shipping stock to other countries and fulfill orders locally.
- Local shipping time.
- Easier returns. Customers don’t have to ship back to China.
- Higher customer satisfaction.
- Large capital required to stock different country warehouses.
- Increased cost due to taxes, shipping costs etc.
- Much more work required to manage different warehouses or even different country specific websites.
- Demand forecasting – Need to anticipate what products will sell and ship only popular products to overseas warehouses.
- Website strategy – You might require country specific websites eg. apple.com (USA), apple.com/uk (UK). Stock levels are different for each country warehouse, your webstore may or may not be able to manage multiple warehouses. This is why multiple websites to manage stock.