The more that small and medium enterprises integrate into the global economy through online commerce, the greater the need to remain attuned and prepared for new opportunities. International holidays are excellent opportunities for small and medium enterprises to learn how to adapt to the global market and expand their sales.
As a member of the Alibaba.com team in Latin America, I would like to reaffirm that the platform's mission is to facilitate business all over the world. Therefore, I would like to share a few tips about how to use global and local celebration dates as business opportunities.
1. Be Creative
The biggest advantage that commemorative dates offer to sellers and buyers is the chance to be creative. Make sure to come up with new products that could be successful in your market on specific dates, or try to figure out ways in which the product you make can be adapted and inserted into a new environment. Public holidays can mean more spending on gifts, food and decorations, which are a very important market worldwide.
Public holidays can also mean delays, but this disadvantage can be overcome through planning. If you are a buyer, it is important to place your orders in advance of public holidays. In the case of the Chinese New Year, which takes place in mid-February, it is important to be aware that this holiday can cause delays to manufacturing and delivery deadlines. If the orders are already undergoing a delivery process or have not been processed in time, patience is required, as many Chinese people travel during the holiday to spend time with their families. This can also occur during the Indian public holiday, Diwali, which is celebrated in October or November.
In addition, holidays also could mean increase in product prices for certain industries. To make the best of this situation, you should plan ahead and order your supplies before the holidays. Making early orders will also ensure that you have better chance to have all the product selections that you need to source for your business, as some sellers would run low or out of stocks during holidays, making the product you are looking more expensive or unavailable. For Europe, August is a month of low activities for buyers and sellers. Plan around it as well.
3. Find opportunities
If you are a seller, I suggest you research the holidays celebrated in the countries or regions where your main clients are. For example, although the Chinese New Year is China's biggest holiday, there are others such as the Full Moon Festival and the Autumn Festival. Public holidays all over the world can be a great opportunity for innovative and creative Latin-American suppliers whose products can be sold to different types of clients.
For example, if you are a seller who currently has (or intends to gain) clients in India, Diwali could be a great opportunity for white and golden products and candles, all of which are widely used during the celebrations. In the case of food suppliers, the Ramadan Holiday, which is celebrated in Muslim countries, is another good opportunity to sell the foods typically eaten during this period. During the New Years, the Chinese use red decorations and clothes – an important detail to which sellers must be attuned.
For both buyers and sellers, I would suggest working to increase the communication during your counterparts' holiday season, to make sure you keep them up-to-date about when orders are dispatched and when they can expect to receive them. Send alerts if anything occurs which could change delivery times, such as extreme weather. It's also advisable to increase cover for email, social media and phone lines to help cope with customer queries.
We at Alibaba.com always encourage our users to notify their clients and suppliers about public holidays, so they can get ready, devise new ideas and plan in advance. It should also be borne in mind that the Chinese New Year, Diwali and Ramadan are all based on the lunar calendar and therefore their dates change every year. Stay attuned and be sure to take advantage of all of the opportunities. Good luck with your business!