Much of OnePlus’ success can be put down to the invite system used to sell the OnePlus One, which created considerable demand by reducing supply.
And much to the chagrin of pretty much everybody, the company is rolling out a similar invite system for the OnePlus 2.
Carl Pei, the company’s co-founder, revealed it hoped to roll out a “new and improved” invite system for the OnePlus 2 launch in a blog post.
“More hardware companies have died from having too much inventory than from having too few sales,” says Pei. “We’re in this for the long run, and we firmly believe that the long-term health of our business is far more important than growth.”
The main improvement is that there’ll be a “quick and painless” reservation list, so you won’t need to hang around on forums or social media vying for invites all day. According to Pei, early forum supporters will be prioritised.
Pei also says shareable invites will now arrive much faster than last time; that means you can peddle codes to your friends much quicker after purchasing your own device.
Interestingly, the post reveals that there will be physical invite cards, although no details were actually given on how they would be utilised.
The co-founder went on to reveal that initial stock levels would be much higher for the OnePlus 2 than its predecessor.
“With the OnePlus One, we did a bit better than we thought we would. This has made us more confident, and therefore we will have far more launch inventory than last time,” explains Pei.
He adds: “We’re talking about 30-50x last year. This means that it will be significantly easier to get an invite from the very beginning.”
While the invite-only system might sound nefarious at first, it could be the only way for the company to stay in business. OnePlus maintains that it’s the easiest way to control stock levels effectively.
That’s necessary because OnePlus has very tight margins, selling devices at manufacturing cost, so excess stock could be a real dampener for the company’s business prospects.
“Last year, we made a product that we were really confident about, but we didn’t know how people would react to it,” says Pei.
He continues: “We had no clue how many people would actually want to buy it and had the challenge of managing our cash flow and inventory risk. Our solution to managing risk and user experience was the invite system.”
The OnePlus 2 is due to be announced on July 27 at a special event that will be broadcasted to fans in virtual reality.
If the fast-approaching handset doesn’t float your boat, you might enjoy our smartphone video group test instead: