COVID-19, better known as the CoronaVirus that was first reported in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019, continues to spread across the globe, affecting people in numerous ways. While regrettably, an increasing number of individuals are unfortunate enough to fall ill to the infamous virus; it also wreaks havoc in multiple industries as well as international logistics as a whole.
Electronics manufacturers are said to experience massive delays because of the outbreak. Production has slowed down, lead times are longer and prices increase. Items sourced from China may also be harder to acquire, and thus, production elsewhere may experience delays as well.
Ports across the world are a nation’s first line of defense. Because of this, port personnel will screen, quarantine or reroute incoming crew members or travelers where necessary. As the virus was discovered in China and has the highest number of cases worldwide, currently over 80,000 cases, parcels, ships and planes from China are especially monitored for risks of infection. Thus, if you are an ecommerce business manufacturing or sourcing finished goods in China and need to ship them to the United States or Europe, your customers will be the ones likely experiencing additional delays. It should not come as a surprise that shipping delays, late delivery so to say, negatively impacts consumer satisfaction and may lead to less trust in your brand and thus a decrease in consumer loyalty.
Not to mention that there are some real concerns among consumers worldwide receiving parcels from China. A simply Google query tells you that people worry that the virus could stay alive on or in the package and carry the virus over. While it is not the case and the virus generally dies within 4 hours outside the human body, it doesn’t make the concerns less valid. China being the source of the virus with currently the most cases reported, adds to that fear. There are a few things you could do to minimize delays and win the trust of your customers (back).
Clearly communicate the order status
The first and most easy thing you could do is to clearly communicate with your customers. This may sound obvious, but far too many businesses fail to effectively communicate and cause confusion among their customers. Make sure they know what is going on. Don’t simply assume they’ve watched the news and can make the connection, thinking, oh I’m sure it is delayed because of the virus. Send out an email, notify them of the situation and promise your business will be on top of matters and make sure the consumer receives their orders as soon as possible.
It is not just delays that bother consumers. What irritates consumers the most is being in the dark, not knowing what the status of their orders is. Make sure you clearly show the status, whereabouts and expected delivery time. Being an ecommerce business, this should be easy to do. Power of the internet. Track and trace, provide insight. Be transparent.
Source products outside of China
Not every business will be able to find the same goods or the same level of quality outside of China. Some products are simply not manufactured elsewhere, or may be too pricey. If however, you are able to source them from nations still deemed safe, you could consider doing so. The question is however, does the other country have as good a infrastructure and how much longer will the country be virus-free? The virus continues to grow rapidly.
Pandemics aside, another reason to consider sourcing outside of China, or even manufacture domestically, could be the ongoing trade wars between the United States and China. The tariffs put a lot of pressure on businesses worldwide, especially those from the US. Your e-commerce business has probably also suffered directly or indirectly. While there is a truce, it seems unlikely that China will be able to keep its part of the deal and we may see the effects of the tariffs linger for much longer. You could consider moving your facilities elsewhere just like 67% of similar businesses surveyed by CNBC.
Shipping through Hong Kong
It is perfectly understandable if you want to keep things as they are. You likely spent a lot of time finding a reliable manufacturer or suppliers in China and finding a new one could be costing you a lot of time and money. You could just as well continue to manufacture in China. If your supplier is still able to deliver as usual and the virus does not limit its output, maybe only delays in shipping concern you. In that case, shipping through Hong Kong could be a valid alternative. A solution to your problem. A way to keep your customers satisfied and deliver goods faster. A way to build trust and customer loyalty.
Hong Kong has done a great job controlling the spread of the virus. There are relatively few cases of COVID-19 and there are currently no known restrictions on logistics from and to Hong Kong. Besides that, Hong Kong is also the perfect option for businesses trying to minimize the impact of trade wars tariffs as they do not apply to shipments that came from Hong Kong. Good to know: There is a $800 threshold on shipments coming from Hong Kong. Sounds attractive, does it not? Having your ecommerce order fulfillment provider in Hong Kong allows you to kill two birds with one stone, and save money on that stone.
What about shipping speed? Well, besides parcels passing through customs faster because of less checks and concerns at the ports we just discussed, Floship also offers Express shipping options such as FedEx, DHL and UPS which allows you to ship to the US within 1 single day. Due to flight suspensions from China and Hong Kong, air freight has become 10-20% more expensive (and rising each week) with additional challenges to book air freight due to the lack of supply. Good news however is that Express couriers have their own fleet so you can expect minimal disruptions.
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Floship Ecommerce Order Fulfillment
Floship is one of Asia’s leading ecommerce order fulfillment providers. We take care of everything from the storage of your goods in one of our warehouses, the pick and pack process within 24hours of incoming orders, labeling, marketing inlays, and international, cross-border shipping. Be it by air freight or sea freight, we got a solution for each ecommerce business. All powered by proprietary, fully integrated and automated software.
We even offer organic packaging options as well as custom packaging for those who want to add that little extra branding to their parcels. With over 65 integrations with the world’s leading ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, and over 30 diffe
rent shipping options in all price ranges, Floship can get your orders to your consumers when they expect it. Unboxing days have never been this close 🙂
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Shipping face masks to Europe, UK, United States?
With an increasing demand for medical face masks, we witness a rise in western ecommerce businesses seeking to import face masks from China, shipping face masks to the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other places. We can definitely help you fulfill large batches of face masks. Simply reach out and we’ll help you out.