Preparing for Christmas deliveries
Preparing for Winter deliveries
The massive national backlog of parcels that will be waiting to be delivered following Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend is a timely reminder that when things get really busy, we can all face delays getting our orders delivered
Thank-you to all our customers who understood that this same backlog last year had nothing to do with Cake Stuff and that we did everything possible to chase up late deliveries and keep customers up-to-date with the latest information we were given. The most frustrating part for us was the realisation that almost every national carrier was affected, so even if we had to send out replacement orders, they would simply join the back of the queue and get caught in the very same backlog. It wasn't a very pleasant experience for us or our customers so we thought we'd put together a little list to help everyone avoid having to go through that again
As we approach the busiest time of the year for Royal Mail and all other parcels companies and as we consider the high likelihood of severe weather affecting roads in many areas, here's a little potted summary designed to help you prepare and avoid the stress. Of course Christmas should be fun but many (most) of our customers make cakes professionally, so they can't afford to get it wrong or be let down by couriers or bad weather
Cake Stuff closes at 2:30pm on Thursday 21st December and re-opens on Wednesday 3rd January. We'll be busy with the annual stock-take and getting the warehouses ready for an even busier 2018. You can place orders as normal but we can't ship any orders or reply to any emails received between these dates
All orders placed between these dates will be shipped from Wednesday 3rd January in order of date placed, with Express Shipping orders shipped on Wednesday 3rd for delivery to customers on Thursday 4th January
Don't leave it too late . . .
LATEST DELIVERY DATES FOR CHRISTMAS
DPD and APC couriers will be delivering throughout the holiday period, but their last delivery day before Christmas is Friday 22nd December, and they'll be busy - extremely busy!
LATEST ORDERING DATES FOR CHRISTMAS
To ensure your order is delivered before Christmas, please place your order in plenty of time - the absolute deadline is midday on Thursday 21st December, choosing Express Shipping - and even then please understand that we cannot guarantee delivery on Friday 22nd December nor will our Customer Service team be here to help chase up delivery. The later you leave it to order, the more likely you'll experience some sort of delay or disruption
Please treat this as the absolute latest ordering date for any orders you will require between Christmas and when we re-open in January
Small, light orders are shipped by 'Royal Mail 24' but this is not a guaranteed next-day service. Our last posting day is Thursday 21st December. Delivery times increase as Christmas approaches, so please expect delays with all items of mail due to the Christmas post
Lighter non-UK orders are sent by Royal Mail (Air Mail). The recommended last posting dates for pre-Christmas delivery are:
- Thursday 21st December - UK mainland
- Tuesday 19th December - UK offshore and remote areas
- Friday 15th December - Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
- Wednesday 13th December - Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland
- Friday 8th December - Greece, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand
- Wednesday 6th December - Caribbean, Central & South America, Cyprus, Malta, Asia, Far East, Eastern Europe
- Friday 1st December - Middle East & Africa
PLEASE NOTE these are recommended latest posting dates as provided by Royal Mail - they are offered for information only and are in no way guarantees of Christmas delivery. Order at least a couple of days before these dates to ensure posting before the deadline. Please note these estimates do not include the time taken for parcels to clear customs in the destination country
5 steps to happiness, or at least to avoiding a meltdown...
Five simple tips to help you avoid the stress by planning ahead!
- order in plenty of time. Check your diary / order book and work out what you'll need from us between now and the middle of January - this year Christmas is falling on the 25th of December (!)
- stock up just a little. If you're going to accept last-minute cake orders around Christmas, then it could be worth stocking up (at least a little) on essentials that will never go wrong... a few extra popular cake boards and boxes, maybe an extra block or two of sugarpaste an so on. We'd never try to talk you into more than you need, but having a little extra stuff on hand could prevent a lot of unnecessary stress
- ensure delivery is possible. It may sound silly, but 90% of all delivery-related 'problems' stem from the customer not being in to accept delivery so please watch for your 'order despatched' email from Cake Stuff - in most cases your order will be delivered the next working day. Then watch for your email/text alert from DPD as it will confirm your 1-hour delivery time slot. If no-one is going to be in during that period, use the DPD 'In-Flight' options to specify a safe place, leave with a neighbour or change the delivery day
- watch for texts and emails. DPD and APC are very good - they're not perfect (nobody is) but we all work hard to keep customers informed about when their orders have been shipped and when to expect delivery. We realise you'll have lots of Christmas goodies arriving by couriers but don't ignore text or email alerts as they really will help you plan for a safe, on-time delivery
- stay in contact. Because we use DPD as our primary delivery partner, it is important that you have supplied a mobile number as your main contact and an up-to-date email address - without these, you won't receive DPD's text/email alerts confirming your 1-hour delivery time slot. Please please log in to your Cake Stuff account to check and update your phone and/or email address
A FEW MORE HANDY TIPS . . .
LOOK AT DELIVERY ESTIMATE AT CHECKOUT
the Cake Stuff website calculates estimated delivery based on the time / date you're placing your order, your location, the delivery option you've chosen and the size/weight of your order. The delivery estimate we show is the date you can expect your order. We deliver over 90% of orders sooner than shown, but look at the delivery estimate and if that date is not acceptable, please choose a faster delivery option
DPD SPLIT DELIVERIES
DPD regularly deliver different boxes from the same consignment at different times on different vans. This is because they have so many delivery vans on the road in most areas, so don't panic if you seem to have a box missing - DPD will send you a text/email alert with a 1-hour delivery time slot for each box they are delivering
there aren't many places in the UK that will be basking in sunshine during December and January, so instead of being surprised at bad weather, let's all prepare for it. Snow, ice, heavy rain, flooding, power-cuts, blocked roads and so on inevitably delay trucks and delivery vans - the picture on the left is a real photo from the DPD depot in Radlett in early December 2017. As you can see, no-one is exaggerating about bad weather causing delivery problems(!)
Please factor in an extra day or two for delivery wherever possible
DPD / APC 'IN-FLIGHT' OPTIONS & SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
if you use DPD's 'In-Flight' options or give special delivery instructions to APC (website or phone), please note that Cake Stuff are no longer kept 'in the loop'. The instructions you give the couriers are completely between you and them and we cannot help chase / locate deliveries or pass on further instructions
DPD 'PICK-UP SHOPS'
if you use DPD's 'In-Flight' options to have your order delivered to a local Pick-Up Shop then please remember the people working there do not work for Cake Stuff. Put nicely, we can't control the competence of staff working for Argos, Halfords, Numark Pharmacy etc. When you visit any Pick-Up Shop to collect an order get them to check (to double-check!) that there may be 2, 3 or more boxes for you
PayPal is fast and convenient but please remember two things: (1) PayPal can carry out a 'payment review' at any time, for any reason and without notice; and (2) PayPal may overwrite the details you've supplied us with an old address stored in your PayPal account
There is nothing absolutely nothing - zilch, zero, nowt, zip, nil, nuffin', jack, nada, diddly-squat - we can do about this as it's art of your user agreement with PayPal. Our advice is choose PAY BY CARD at checkout if you can, but if you do decide to use PayPal, clear out any old delivery addresses lurking around in your PayPal account
Happy Christmas !
This may all sound a little bit serious and un-Christmasy but we say 'wish for the best and plan for the worst'
It's our job to keep our 125,000+ lovely customers supplied with the thousands of products you need to create the wonderful cakes you regularly share with us on our Facebook page. It should be fun - of course it should be - but for many of you it's also your business, your reputation and your livelihood. So we don't want to sound like The Grinch, but we hope you can appreciate what we're trying to do . . . everything possible to help you avoid any last minute panic or stress
None of us want to get to that last weekend just before Christmas Day only to discover something, somewhere has been delayed or been damaged. We can normally put right just about anything that's thrown at us (and we're happy to do so), but we haven't yet found a time machine that works, so let's all do everything possible to make sure none of us run out of time
Thank you for all your support during 2017 - it is always greatly appreciated and never taken for granted
Everyone here at Cake Stuff HQ wishes you and yours a wonderful Christmas
We'll see you on the other side!