Every year during the Christmas period our workload increases dramatically and pressure increases to be able to deliver the majority of our orders for that all important day that comes around once a year. We have to be on our A game to ensure targets are met and as a result there are strict cut off dates and times and other important information we need to highlight to ensure a smooth period. Last year was our hardest year on record and this year, like last year, differs to normal as we also all face other external factors we have little to no control over, this includes, Covid-19, graphics card shortages, other stock shortages, HGV shortages, Brexit & courier delays.
Before going into detail about the specific ins and outs, because of these factors above, anyone making an order for Christmas needs to be placing orders as soon a possible.
2021 Stock shortages
Right now the biggest issue the entire industry faces is supply of stock. Supply of graphics cards and general stock have been well documented throughout the entire year and is set to continue well into 2022. Whilst we are generally in a better place than most online retailers certain components are in short supply and as a result potentially have extended lead times and thus orders will be delayed, potentially beyond the big day. Rather than duplicate what is and is not included and how much of a delay is involved please see both links above.
In addition we very much so expect to run out of graphics cards before cut off dates, some years we have simply stopped taking orders because of the shear amount of them and if that is the case then we will be forced to do so again without warning but the stock shortage is that severe, we envisage simply having to either stop taking orders because we don't have the stock/cant see the stock coming in or having to apply lengthy lead times that extend beyond the year. Importantly, if we don't have the stock it is very likely no where else will have the stock either. For this sole reason alone, if you can order now for Christmas, do so.
Like the stock shortages, information on how COVID-19 has affected our business has also been well documented over the last 18 months here. For the most part, it is business as usual as much of our services have returned to normal. We are of course still following relevant government guidelines which adds extra workload but for the most part its easily manageable but of course has the chance of rearing its ugly head once again causing havoc.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Our custom PC industry is a little different to the box shifting nature of the electronics industry which is famed for Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals. They operate a stick in a box, pop a shipping label on and out the door it goes, or for any of you that remember, a mass brawl for a pile of Polaroid TV's! Our industry is more than box shifting and requires significantly more effort to fulfil an order of a complete custom PC. Computer components are rarely discounted and thus a genuine Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal on Custom PC's is either rare or insignificant unless its someone trying to shift old out of date stock that no one really wants. This time of year we get flooded with enquiries about if we will be doing any Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals and if its worth hanging out for one. With the current stock crisis with the likely hood of actually running out of stock possible even before Black Friday it makes no business sense to discount prices and can confirm we wont be doing any promotions or deals for Black Friday & Cyber Monday this year.
All is not lost, over the last week or two we have been tightly updating pricing in an around our website to ensure our pricing is solid throughout the Christmas period and you will probably find some money off a system compared to what it was a couple of weeks back. Call it a sale, call it an early Black Friday & Cyber Monday deal as many electronic retailers have been doing throughout November, the main thing is its there even if its not immediately obvious. This comes with our price guarantee - if any of our systems come down in price between now and 31/12/2020 we will refund the difference. On the flip side it comes with our strong intent that there will be no further price reductions between now and Christmas, what you see now will almost certainly be the lowest you will pay but there is the potential for prices to increase which as resupply costs have been creeping up recently is likely.
Extended Returns & Christmas Orders Advice
Being the best custom PC builder in the country means our services are even more so in demand this time of year. Our workload over the Christmas months more than doubles, combine this with the stock shortages and COVID-19 increase in business this puts a big strain on our resources. In past years, even without a pandemic or supply issues, we had to simply stop taking orders to meet the demand for the orders already promised. The last thing we want is not being able to fulfil an order because we are overwhelmed. The Second from last thing we want is you not being able to order because we have stopped taking orders so we strongly urge customers to make Christmas orders sooner rather than later. As previously mentioned our prices will not go any lower as of 2/11/21. We have also extended our returns policy, any system ordered now (2/11/21) have until at least until January the 10th to be returned so if you do want to return the PC for whatever reason you can do so many days after the Christmas break.
HGV Shortages, Brexit and Courier Delays
With HGV Shortages and Brexit stock simply takes longer to reach us, this would usually not be a problem but combine it with the current stock shortages it has a knock on effect. Last year, out of the blue our Courier at the time, APC Overnight was unable to fulfil deliveries in time due to the unprecedented workload being placed on the entire courier network. Despite working our socks off to get orders ready, we were unable to arrange shipping on last minute orders and as a result were unable to deliver in time for Christmas. Thankfully we have since changed courier whom appear better equipped to deal with larger volumes however be aware our estimated timescales and guarantees only go as far as getting the order ready to ship and not of it being on your door stop buy a certain date.
Delivery Dates & Order Cut Off Details
As many of our systems are built to order which take time to assemble and test there are strict cut-offs in place to ensure your order is ready to ship in time for Christmas Day. The last standard build and test service delivery date before December the 25th, is Friday 24th of December which means you need to have placed your order with us by mid day on Thursday 9th of December in order for it to be ready to ship in time. Priority builds needs to have their orders in by mid day on the 16th of December and the "Super Rush Job" service customer will still need to give us a call before placing the order so we can let you know an estimated completion date. Please be reminded these cut off dates are not only cutting it very fine but anything scheduled for delivery on the 24th of December is also Christmas eve and should any problems arise with the courier they are unlikely to be resolved until after the big day.
Whilst we try our hardest to fulfil as many orders as possible, any systems ordered after any of these dates, are not guaranteed to ship in time for the big day.
Collections from us (subject to COVID allowing the showroom being open) can be collected right up until 5pm Friday 24th of December which is our last working day before Santa arrives.
Please remember systems with 16GB of RAM or more, overclocked or full custom water cooling incur extra build and test time, so you will need to get these orders in sooner. Details on how these upgrades affect the build and test time can be found here.
If you have left it too late then we do have an increased stock of our Pre Built PCS which are already built, tested, packaged and ready to ship (subject to stock levels). Our "Super Rush Job" build and test service is also available as normal but we fully expect it to be in full demand for last minute orders so do please call us before ordering a Super Rush Job as we only take on one of these jobs at a time so we can devote our full attention to it.
Opening Times Over the Christmas Break
For our sins we will be working right up until 6pm December 24th, after that we are officially closed until Tuesday 4th of January however there will be skeletal staff in on the 29th, 30th & 31st of December for support and sales enquiries. Little or no production will happen on these 3 days and so is not included in the build/test time-scales.
Our Courier is back open from Wednesday 29th so we will be able to dispatch orders for delivery on Thursday the 30th and Friday 31st.
Normal service will resume from Tuesday 4th of January 2021 meaning the next available standard delivery date after this period will be Wednesday 5th January 2021.
Finally we wish all of our customers, past and present a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at UK Gaming Computers.