The Unmitigated Arrogance of Companies Offering Preorders
I have noticed a disturbing trend in the past year. Companies are offering preorders of items, letting you backorder said item before the first one ships. When you know there is zero question about you wanting an item this is a time and frustration saver. It is a good thing if handled properly. It is also a way for a company to judge the demand they can expect. Typically people who preorder are either enthusiasts about the product or company selling it. Their brand loyalty is a large part of their decision. So why would companies be taking their orders and then telling them to hurry up and wait while they sell the product in other channels?
There is nothing more that I would like to do now, than to get Jeff Bezos in a restaurant. Let him order dinner, and then proceed to serve everyone around him. Ignoring him until I was damn good and ready to hand him a plate. I would then explain to him that while he preordered ahead of everyone else, his order was not anywhere near as important as keeping the other customers happy, even if he was a frequent customer.
This is what Amazon did with the Fire TV Stick preorder program. They let people preorder for 2 days near the end of October. I being slightly skeptical didn't order till the second day. All orders by that point had been pushed from the November 14th ship date to January 2nd. As a consumer I can understand when demand outstrips supply. What I don't understand is how Bezos and crew can then fill their retail channel orders, putting this backordered item on store shelves. All the while telling their loyal in store customers whom they presumably should make more money off of, you still have to wait.
So I would serve everyone in my restaurant, and tell Mr. Bezos that he could leave and come back in a few days, and maybe I could serve him food then.
Don't get me wrong, Amazon is not the only company doing this lately. I have seen many companies do this in 2014 and even Kickstarter campaigns. The kickstarters are even more disturbing. They take your money to launch, produce the product, then trickle out the 'rewards' for the investors who launched them and send orderd en-masse to the retail channel.
So Jeff, you had my loyalty as a customer, my curiosity about your new product, despite the locked down nature of many of your other Fire products. So In finally place an order for one and you pull this crap. In the end you can make any excuse you want, you spit in our faces and told us we weren't as important as the retail channel.
Well here it is in a nutshell Mr. Bezos, since I became an Amazon customer in 1996 I have placed over 193 orders for tangible goods. I have placed 4123 orders for digital products(quite a few of them free). Thats over 4300 orders for your company. I still have not canceled my order, but I have bought a Chromecast because I didnt want to wait till January to have one of these devices. I have not canceled my Amazon Fire TV Stick order yet either. I may before it ships, or I might wait till it gets here and see if it works how I want. If I am not satisfied, I will definitely be returning it.
In the end a man may look at this and say why are you fussing about a $20-$30 device that there a hundreds of clones of out there? All you miss out on with a clone are the proprietary Amazon features. They would be right.
What Amazon and other companies are missing out on is the cost in brand loyalty. I understand that showing bean counters brand loyalty on a balance sheet is hard, but, it should not be swept under the rug and trod on like you have done here.
I treasure the old Amazon, the one who sent me a mouse pad, that read (paraphrased); "Outside of a dog, a book is a mans best friend. Inside of a dog its too dark to read." That came from a company who appreciated a customer. Are you still that company?