The Wunan Coronavirus is a major respiratory virus outbreak that started in the central region of Wunan, China, and has to-date claimed 100 lives and infected more than 4,500. However, in addition to affecting people’s lives, the virus also impacts on the global e-commerce businesses.
China A Global Exporter of Ecommerce Products
In 2018, USD130 billion of exports consisted of e-commerce exports from China to the world. It is reported that 39 percent of Amazon Europe marketplace merchants are located in China.
Whatever the e-commerce platform may be, whether Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Lazada or Shopee, or other e-commerce platforms maybe, sourcing for e-commerce products typically leads back to China where most goods are manufactured.
Your Site Fulfilment Location Matters
Unless you’re completely offline and haven’t read the newspapers, you’re probably heard of the lockdown of the Wuhan city by the Chinese government. The lockdown means that the people in that city are not allowed to leave the city and no one can enter unless authorized by the government. This is to ensure that the virus do not spread to the rest of the country. All outbound transportation channels, including railways, air routes, and highways, are shut in an attempt to contain the virus.
However, Wuhan is not the only city that’s being lockdown. There are reports that at least 13 Chinese cities are on lockdown. What this means is that people in these cities are not able to go to work normally, and logistically, the transportation of goods are limited due to the lockdown.
So, if your fulfillment center is located in China, that is, if your stock is stored in China, and is shipped out of China to your customers, then it is most likely that the stock shipment will be delayed, indefinitely, or at least until the coronavirus is contained.
Who Does This Impact?
Ecommerce companies and individuals who are using the dropshipping method.
However, if you import your products in bulk from China, and only fulfill it from your country to your customers, it does not impact your business. Until, you run out of stock, and need to stock up again.
What Can You Do?
Are you running promotions and ad campaigns on your products that are fulfilled in China? If yes, then you need to pause them.
Customers have already ordered the products based in China? In this case, you need to update them of the indefinite delay, or better still, offer them an alternative product (that’s not based in China), with a free gift as a thank you and sorry for the inconvenience caused. Remember, keeping a current customer is cheaper than trying to get a new customer, so try to keep them happy.
Find local wholesalers. Depending on where you are, the US, UK, Australia, Malaysia, India, and so on, it is best that you find local wholesalers to replace your Chinese products. You can also try to find them via B2B wholesaler marketplaces.