What is Chinese New Year?
Also known as the Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year is an important festival in the calendar. The New Year is filled with welcoming of new and good things, whilst removing the bad and old. Celebrated with different activities across the diverse regions of China and Asia, the New Year is an important opportunity for family reunions, meaning that millions of people travel via public transport to be home in time. 2022 represents the Year of the Tiger – an animal often associated in the Chinese zodiac with prosperity and power.
Whilst the decadent event is traditionally welcomed with people cleaning their houses, redecorating, and feasting, it has also become an opportunity filled with online shopping. So, what does that mean for merchants within China or connected by clients or suppliers?
What should I prepare for?
The Chinese New Year being a highly important holiday means that most, if not all, China based supplier will be closing their business to take time off. Thus, if you have suppliers in Asia, it’s best to ensure your stock is replenished and anticipate shipping delays.
Typically, people celebrating the Chinese New Year stop working a week or so before the holiday to begin their travels and plans for relaxation. The New Year is a time for celebration with loved ones, with people migrating across China, and it is common for residents of Hong Kong to travel to different parts of Asia. As a merchant with a customer base in China, this bears the positive boost of sales over the holiday. But that doesn’t come without the need for preparation and adjustment with stock, messaging, promotions and amends to Ts&Cs for delivery times being elongated due to the break.
What about COVID?
The Chinese New Year, like other national holidays, has been different during COVID-19 because of travel restrictions and more people being at home. Whilst we may now expect to see a rise in travelling again after a stagnated couple of years, many people will remain at home or in their local regions. With more people at home and taking time off from work, the New Year will leave time for scrolling online and purchasing items either as a selfcare treat, or a gift. This means that people have been finding creative ways to stay in touch and share distant celebrations.
As a merchant, it’s wise to expect several orders and prepare in a way that will allow you to stay loyal to your customer. What does this mean? If you plan to continue providing your goods and services during the holiday but think that there may be a delay, then modify your sale items and make it clear at checkout that the item may take longer. If stocks are low from your suppliers, or you’ll be taking a break, you can promote your sales and special offers with a countdown to a date where it will be feasible for you to continue your business seamlessly.
As a merchant, what can I expect to see in 2022?
With people at home and extended time off, it’s predicted that the gaming and retail markets will see a significant uplift. Whilst production of products is halted in China during the celebration, the perfect gift and entertainment can be found online. In 2021, China accounted for 25% of the global online gaming industry. Mini games on mobile apps, streaming platforms and VR games continue to be popular despite the Chinese government’s freeze on video gaming licenses.
Further growth in the use of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) schemes will continue to rise, so having the right alternative payment methods for your consumers is imperative. Atome being the most prevalent, offers financial perks from joining the platform which brings domino benefit to merchants with goods and services. During the Chinese New Year, people often buy new items of clothing and furnishings for their homes. Large purchases and retail consumption can chew a large hole in the money purse, and so payment methods like BNPL are widely welcomed.
Marketing is key as a merchant
It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” – Steve Maraboli
In essence, clarity is key. The Chinese New Year is a fantastic way to grow your customer base by marketing your goods and services to existing customers and potential customers. The key is communicating that whilst they can benefit from your holiday promotions, they may not receive that product for some time. This should be stated at checkout and in the email confirmation.
Some consumers want more personal engagement with a merchant before purchasing. So, altering telephone enquiries to emails, utilisation of chatbots, and a priority system could allow you to fulfil warm leads.
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