Yes, it’s true! Christmas is now only a month and a day away so get your labels sorted today!
While you’ve probably got more fun things to plan (decorating the tree, gifts you want to give (and receive), time with family and friends, a good old knees up for the Christmas do (or an excuse to get out of it), or even a trip away), we’d like to remind our customers that labels tend to take more time than you think.
Most people are guilty of leaving labels to the last minute – and we can understand why. Perhaps you’ve had months of product planning and marketing meetings to get through, or you’ve been busy planning your Christmas card list, presents, and party invites down to the last detail – in either case, you might have been so busy planning the details and design of your actual items, that getting hold of the labels to put on said items has become something of an afterthought – a bridge, as it were, to cross when you get to it.
However, we’d point out that there are a number of steps involved in getting stuff labelled – most of which take significantly longer at Christmas – which can mean that it will take significantly longer to cross the “Bridge Of Labelling Stuff” than you might think:
DESPATCH: only stocked items are available for same day despatch – made to order items have to be put on a waiting list for manufacture and in the run up to Christmas that list gets longer and longer, which means that it can be at least five working days before your items are despatched (and not “up to”).
DELIVERY (PART 1): while orders of 250+ sheets are sent on a next working day carrier service, smaller orders are sent via Royal Mail’s first class service, which is subject to delays as the Christmas period gets closer and more items are being processed.
DESIGN: if you haven’t already got a template ready and raring to go, you’ll need to put aside some time to get your labels designed. If you’re planning a very simple label then this might be a straightforward task, but if you’re looking to put together a special seasonal design to add that special finishing touch to your items, it might just take longer than you think.
PRINT: if you’re printing a few labels (for a personal Christmas card list or for gift tags and decorations) then this isn’t as much of an issue, but if you’re a company trying to print thousands of seasonal labels for your Christmas stock and promotional materials then you need to account for the actual time that it will take to print your labels.
LABELLING: you also need to account for the time that you’ll need to actually get all of those labels stuck on – especially if presentation is an important factor and they all need to be perfectly positioned on your items.
DELIVERY (PART 2): whether this is putting your Christmas cards in the post before the last posting date or making sure that your customers receive their products in plenty of time, you also need to make sure that you have time to get your labelled items to where they need to get to – especially if you’re sending items to stores or to customers directly.
As you can see, there are at least six stages involved – and that’s if you’re based in one location. Some of our customers will also need to despatch their labels to a printers to be printed and to a warehouse for labelling, before their labelled items are sent off to a warehouse for storage, to a store for display and sale, or simply directly to their customers.
In any case, you need to build in enough time for everything to get done, so here are our key things to think about:
- Made to order items take longer than usual to be despatched (our “up to five working days” despatch estimate is now more likely to be “five working days” (if not more) for despatch).
- Royal Mail’s first class service is likely to encounter delays as Christmas gets nearer, so we strongly recommend upgrading small orders to a next working day delivery option (available online and by phone).
- Don’t assume that designing a template and printing your labels is going to be a straightforward and easy task – whether you prefer Murphy’s Law, Sod’s Law, or Finagle’s Law, we all know how the old saying goes: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and always at the worst possible moment.
- If you know that your labelled items are likely to be gift items that customers will want to receive in plenty of time for Christmas, it is better to order your labels now, so your stock is ready and raring to go for when those Christmas orders are flowing in.
- If you are concerned that your labels won’t arrive in time, get in touch so we can give you the most current despatch/delivery estimates and advise of the best possible shipping options to make sure your order arrives in plenty of time.