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Re: Anyone else kind of over it?
The Nexus 7 launched used a pre-order system and a simultaneous brick-and-mortar launch. This, coupled with demand that far outstripped their supply, caused people to be on backorder waiting lists while their local stores had a (limited and sporadic) supply that was immediately available for the same price and no shipping charge. So a lot of people got understandably impatient and went to the local store to buy one, then refused the shipment of their pre-ordered unit.
Originally Posted by gs_up
- Accepting pre-orders (great judge of demand, but you can't adapt to high demand on a small-scale build anyway).
- Simultaneous launch in stores (they should have fulfilled their backorders and delayed the store launch by at least a week so their backorders and store demand weren't competing for stock and tying up multiple units to serve one customer).
For the Nexus 4 launch, they seem to have learned their lesson. The N4 launch looked like the launch of pretty much any unit where the demand far exceeded supply. Shopping cart system got wonky at very low supply levels ("well, we had one when it got into your cart, but now we're out, oh wait, we have one after all, oops - it's gone again!") and of course it sold out quickly. They they caused further confusion by taking any orders that got canceled due to people accidentally ordering 4-5 units because of shopping cart wonkiness and re-introducing them to stock in small batches, causing the shopping cart to remain wonky for quite a while (rather than just going immediately to "out of stock" and making those units available later).
It's actually pretty hard to design a shopping cart system that does a reasonable job of selling in a high-demand, low-stock situation. How long do you reserve units for potentially abandoned shopping carts? How do you tell the difference between someone who has abandoned their cart and someone who is just rifling through their wallet trying to find their credit card, or in that "do I really want this" indecision point?
Google's next launch would look a lot better if they learned lessons from both launches, and went something like the following:
1. Pre-announce about a month and a half out. Start accepting backorders immediately. If you can make 1,000 units a day and there are 45 days until launch day, the first 30,000 customers are guaranteed a ship date 2 weeks before official launch. Everyone else gets ship dates starting from there and rolling out one day for every 1,000 units sold. If demand is large enough, adjust manufacturing early and start shipping orders out before the promised dates.
2. Stop accepting backorders when demand reaches the point where you can fulfill all orders one week before the official cross-channel launch. Concentrate on getting units out to those customers while staging units at all your intended retail outlets. That means you won't have any customers with a unit on a UPS truck knowing that another unit is sitting at a retail store nearby.
Now all your customers who really, really, REALLY want one have them in their hands, and you are in a situation where you've learned what demand might be like and your launch will be more measured and controllable.