Over the past few months, things have been crazy. Due to our rapid growth, stumbles, or scaling issues, one thing is for certain; the invite system has been a blessing. Let me explain.
Launching something is difficult. To control risk, many software companies usually do gradual rollouts. While we think like a software company, scaling a hardware business is very different. The biggest difference is inventory risk.
Our current goals are finding the right product-market fit and user acquisition. To do so, we made the risky move to forego hardware margins. In this scenario, we do not have the ability to absorb miscalculations in inventory. Any excess inventory will lead to a direct loss, and a larger miscalculation means we need to close our doors. We believe that we’re forcing positive change within our industry by increasing consumer choice and building better quality products, and we’re not looking to stop anytime soon. This is why we have to be conservative and only produce the amount of devices we’re 100% sure will be sold.
While many users have at first disliked this system, we’re glad that many understand and support our decision once they understand the reasoning behind it. However we still think the experience can be improved. Never Settle, right?
The main issue with the invite model is that people need to invest considerable time into finding an invite. For some, this means making new friends at the OnePlus Forums, but others just want to buy the device. How can we improve the experience for the latter group while still managing our risk? Our answer to this problem is the OnePlus Pre-order System.
During a limited time window, you will be able to place an order for the OnePlus One. If we have the items in stock, we’ll ship immediately. If we don’t, it will automatically become a pre-order. No matter what, we’ll always tell you our best approximation for when it will ship before you submit the payment authorization (we’ll reserve the payment and charge you when we ship).
There’s a time limit, but no limit on the amount of orders that can be made. If we get a lot of pre-orders, we’ll simply show you a longer shipping estimation date. Any time after the pre-order time window closes, you’ll be able to forfeit your place in line, cancel the order, and release the payment reserve if you don’t wish to wait any longer. If you receive an invite while waiting for a pre-order to ship, you can apply it to skip the pre-order queue and have your order shipped immediately.
To avoid panic, you’ll be able to set things like address and accessories up well in advance (we’re talking days here!), so at that final moment, all you have to do is press a button. We’re looking to launch this in late October, and we’ll have final instructions up a week before the pre-orders start.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.