If you have suppliers in China for your e-commerce business, you need the facts.
However, there are facts that will shock you and make headlines. Here's my 10 cents on them and what they mean for you and your business:
There’s a strong chance you contracted coronavirus….and didn’t even know it.
I’m not making a sick joke. I’m as serious as the plague. That's because coronavirus is not a single disease but a family of viruses complete with cousins and nephews.
People and animals have been infected by different strains of the coronavirus for as long as we knew what a virus was.
Most of those strains are pretty innocuous. They give you things like the common cold.
But the virus the entire world is talking about is not Aunty McSneezy.
It’s a new strain dubbed a new “2019 novel coronavirus”, or “2019-nCoV” and has claimed over 360 lives as of the time of writing.
On December 31, 2019, China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. The cause of this pneumonia would explode into a crisis costing them $14 billion dollars within the next 30 days.
SARS spread to 8,000 people in 9 months.
2019-nCoV did the same in less than 30 days.
At first, this sounds like an outbreak with the likes of a medieval plague. But as much as the media enjoys shocking your socks off so they can make money off them clicks, there's more to the story.
SARS, which happens to have been another coronavirus, killed 10% of its hosts. As of today, 2019-nCoV has taken the lives of 2.5% of the people who contracted it—the majority elderly or previously sick.
2019-nCoV has spread to 28 countries.
Over 17,000 people have contracted the disease in 28 countries. That alone understandably makes the world nervous.
However, over 98% of those infected are living in China.
Spain—one person infected.
Sweden—one person infected.
India. Nepal. Finland. All one person infected.
The ease of quarantining the outbreak of a virus in a country when only a single person has been diagnosed as infected is far higher than containing it in a country with over 10,000 people infected.
As of the time of writing, doctors in the US have diagnosed 11 people in the US as having the virus—the vast majority of whom travelled to Wuhan or had close personal contact with someone who did—in the states of Washington, California, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, and Massachusetts. (For up to the minute numbers, click here.)
Of the the continents, those unaffected so far are Africa, South America, and Antarctica.
The virus spreads before people even know they have it.
2019-nCoV has an incubation period of 2-14 days. This means you won't see the symptoms for 2-14 days after being infected by the virus.
People are spreading the virus to others before they know they even have it. SARS, on the other hand, could only spread during the symptom phrase.
Should you be panicking? No.
Should you be on the alert? Yes.
What about your Amazon business? What about suppliers in China?
First of all, we at Just One Dime have two full-time staff in China who know what's going on. You're getting not just America's or Europes's perspective, but from within China too. Here's four things you need to know:
1) Don’t fly to China until this dies down. Wait.
Having been to China multiple times, we find China to be one of the most fascinating countries in the world. I already purchased tickets to go to China and live there for 2 months with one of our Just One Dime coaches from mid May to mid July.
Our goal is to bring our Mandarin Chinese skills to a conversational level while we network and collaborate with suppliers of our products, meet new suppliers, and go to schools that actually teach Chinese people how to sell on Amazon.
If you've ever had copycat Chinese Amazon sellers beating you on price, we're going to learn in their class how they're doing what they do. We'll include that content and how to compete against them effectively in our unending membership, which constantly grows as the world of e-commerce evolves.
We have taken groups of 15-25 people to China, teaching them how to source products, and it was phenomenal.
But don’t risk your health or getting stuck in quarantine for your product.
2) It is extremely unlikely that the virus can be transferred by mail.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”
That's a sciency way of saying that the chances of 2019-nCoV sitting on your product like a maleficent stowaway is little to none because it can't survive outside of human body temperatures.
3) Your production and shipments will be delayed.
The Chinese government extended the New Year holiday by more than a week in effort to halt the spread of the virus. Some businesses may not go back to work until even later.
One of our suppliers will take 55 days to create only two molds.
It's okay if you run out of inventory—which you've heard online not to do. Just make sure to close your Amazon listing. That way you won't have a bad sales history and have to re-promote your product to get it ranking at your previous BSR level. Do not overbuy out of fear.
Really ask yourself why you’re worried about running out of inventory.
Our most effective products are often set in chunks of 250 to 500, and as it grows, we buy more based off of how it's selling. But running out of inventory is not the end of the world. It's a sign that your product is selling fast and you ranked it well. The worst thing is the opposite: sitting inventory. I'd rather run out of inventory than have sitting inventory costing me storage fees and being frozen cash.
However, if your product has proven itself already, and you know it sells strong, increase your order now while you can.
In China when working with suppliers, they will tell you first-come-first-served. But, in my experience, that's not true. Really, it’s “deepest pockets, first served.”
Those with bigger orders get priority over those with smaller orders.
If you want to take advantage of that, now is the time.
4) Use this as an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your supplier.
On paper they may not be your business partner, but in your dealings and conversations, that is how you should treat them. They have a huge impact on the success of your business. They are suffering. Take time to see how they're doing.
Not only is that human compassion, but it will build a relationship for the future as you grow your business.
This is not the first time the world has had an outbreak. We had ebola, SARS, H1N1, and now 2019 novel coronavirus. This isn't something new. Be wise. Be alert. Understand the media's incentive to overblow it and shock you.
I've seen various news outlets mess with the numbers to make them sound more impressive by including pending cases, those under quarantine, or straight up lying. What matters for your business and your margin and those you love is the facts, not shocking clickbait. Wherever you are in this crazy world, I and my team are wishing you an absolutely amazing year of health and success.