Updates on Covid-19 for CustomCat Merchant Partners

At CustomCat we completely understand that this is a strange and difficult time for everyone, but we want to continue providing you with a moment of escapism. We are thrilled to be open again and together we can do our part to get the economy up and running again. Our hope is to help reduce the spread while maintaining our high standard of service. It is our commitment to you that we will do everything in our power to keep fulfilling and shipping out your orders, until we are told otherwise.

As partners, we want to be as transparent as possible. Please see below for the answers to some commonly asked questions about the current situation and its possible impact on fulfillment and shipping time with CustomCat.

Fulfillment and Products

Yes, our facility is operating normally. Demand for online shopping has spiked and we have scaled our production capacity accordingly. 

Our warehouse is still operational, and every precaution in our warehouse and office is being taken to ensure our staff are staying safe. Here’s how we are doing this:

  • CustomCat team members who can work from home are doing so, collaborating over the phone or computer.
  • We have increased the size of our fulfilment space to give our team increased distance between workstations.
  • (Add more if needed)
  • We will be complying with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19 in operations, taking all the necessary steps required.

Thank you for your patience and contribution to keeping our world safe. We look forward to making this a prosperous 2020.

In general, we average 2-4 business days but that is just an average so at times some will take longer than that. We don’t guarantee any timeframe because of instances that had a bad print and require us to print a second time, but most orders will go out in that 2-4 business day timeframe.

Once an order ships the status will be updated to Fulfilled in both the CustomCat and Shopify order dashboards and it will trigger an email through Shopify to your customer that includes the tracking number. The tracking will also be posted in your CC dashboard for you to view once it ships.

A few things can happen in production that would result in a newer order shipping before an older order. The goal is FIFO (first in first out) and we have mechanisms to keep things in order but sometimes they get disrupted, for example, Quality Control (QC). If we stop an order at QC, we have to reprint and press a new product. In addition, we gang thousands of products to print and press at once so if there is some kind of programming error with the batch, the entire batch may have to get re-queued.

Again, we do have mechanisms to push the oldest orders to the front of the line but it isn’t 100% fool proof.

Yes, here’s a general update on some products affected by COVID-19:

  • DTG (Direct To Garment Printing): While some DTG orders are fulfilling very quickly, some DTG SKUs are experiencing delays. 
  • Face masks: Although the above issue only affects DTG (not mugs), due to explosive growth in mugs, a backlog was created and we were forced to increase our capacity on the fly to handle the growth. 
  • All other products such as Blankets, Canvas and Posters also experienced tremendous growth. But we were well prepared and orders have been shipping on time.

We do our best to fulfill and deliver on time. Reasons that may cause a delay include:

  • Delays in securing blank stock from suppliers
  • Quality control reprints
  • Unforeseen sudden spikes in sales volume in a specific decoration method
  • Delays in transit after the item is shipped
  • Supply chain (materials, inks, print equipment) and logistics issues due to COVID-19

Great news: We are working on a UX tool to display our current turnaround times on a weekly basis for popular products. Right now we are clearing out canvas ordered from about 8+ days ago but within the next few days we will be fulfilling canvas consistently in 3-5 days.

Sometimes we know that a variant is out of stock and mark it as inactive in our catalog. However the seller still has it listed in their store and an order comes in for the OOS item. These orders are not able to fully process and get listed in our internal Error Queue.
The seller will receive an automated email notifying them of the Out of Stock item/order. The seller will then have 3 options in their dashboard to proceed:

  • Change the color and/or size of this OOS item, but the Style of product cannot be changed.
  • Cancel the order completely if the OOs item is the only item in the order. If there are multiple items in the order, the OOS item can be cancelled and removed from the order, allowing the rest of the order to process and ship
  • The order can stay on backorder until the item comes back in stock, and the system will automatically process the order once it does. 

The CDC now recommends the use of Face Masks to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Our Cloth Face Mask is designed for protection, comfort and style. While the nylon spandex layer is cozy and gentle on your face, the antimicrobial outer layer is made of 100% micro knit polyester for printing photo quality artwork.

Through testing and feedback, we’ve learned that these masks remain effective for common day-to-day use while allowing for more vibrant prints and higher overall satisfaction.

We are always working to provide you the best possible products, and any changes made are with the best interests of our partners, like you, in mind. 

For more information about the CDC guidelines on face masks click here, and also review our updated blog post and mask selling guide with updated product description.

Shipping

Most orders are shipping via UPS Surepost or UPS Mail Innovations, where UPS takes it to the local post office and they deliver it from there. The estimated delivery date initially listed is not a guaranteed date, it is just an estimate. Each post office is different and has their own delivery timeframe so sometimes the order may get delivered after the estimate. 

The post offices are very busy this time due to the Covid-19 situation and limited transportation availability. Certain larger cities are experiencing additional delays due to labor shortages which is why it will arrive in that city and sit for a week and waiting to be processed, so you might need to explain to your customer as it’s not lost just delayed.

80% of mail innovations are taking 7 – 10 business days. The bad areas include Texas, California, Arizino, Florida and states around the NJ sorting center. Those areas represent the majority of the delays in transit.

Few examples of Ground/ Two-Day/ Overnight taking longer than expected but it can happen depending on the area. 

Note: Upgrading to Two-Day or Overnight means the order will ship within two-day or one-day transit time. Your order would be a two day transit based on the zip code, but you don’t need to pay Two-Day air fees when Ground is way cheaper and takes the same time in transit to the buyer. Upgrading the shipping affects transit time, but it won’t affect the production time.

Yes, sellers can expedite the shipping time manually in their app dashboard. The shipping method the buyer chooses in your store does not pass through the app. The seller must go into the order dash, on the CC app, and select the new shipping method next to the assigned order ID. Please note that we cannot priority ship to PO Boxes – needs to be a physical address.

The seller can change the shipping method the entire time an order is in production. However, once an order has been marked as shipped and has a tracking number, it is too late. Any additional charges required to change the shipping method will be charged to the same payment method used for all orders, which is listed in the Settings tab of the CC dashboard.

There’s only one shipping option for any international order. The order will be shipped via UPS International Mail Innovations. Ship time ranges from 1-4 weeks depending on proximity to Detroit, MI.

We do not ship to the following countries: Cuba, Falkland Islands, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, and Sudan.

We ship worldwide, but full tracking (marked as delivered on tracking) is only provided for these specific countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

For any countries not listed above, tracking stops once the package is handed over to the country’s international carrier. For these countries we do not receive additional tracking updates, therefore we are not liable once they have been given to the international carrier.

Customer Service

We receive a high number of emails and tickets, therefore the response time may be delayed to 2-3 business days. We will answer your email on a first come-first served basis and as soon as possible. The response time is longer than usual, due to the high intensity. We thank you for your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.

In Conclusion

We appreciate your patience through these early hiccups in production and again we are confident that we will meet our demand and deliver on time for the upcoming holidays. Thank you for your ongoing support!

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