Early Reserve Notifications
Short version: We are moving off the “Remind” notification system due to expense. Thus, we are developing an app for iOS / Android that will serve the same purpose. Check back here for information around the end of July. Or if you want us to send you an email explaining the final solution(s); just submit your email at this link and we will contact you when our new system is completed. WE WILL NOT be exporting / importing the existing Remind list (as there is no way to do that). Thus, if you don’t re-register with the final solution – you will no longer receive messages.
Interim Note: The new notification system is not in place yet, so just to let you know we will open the GEC #92 reservations on 7/31/19 @4pm central.
Long version: For those that care, the details are below.
Fifteen years ago, when we realized the need for a reservation system, we utilized a spreadsheet and took reservations via email. But people change their minds a lot – thus it became obvious fairly quickly that we needed an automated system. We are now on the 4th generation of the Early Reserve System. A lot of money has been invested to automate this process and provide our customers with a way to put their name on an upcoming product well ahead of production.
One of the key components of the Early Reserve system is the notification that a new product is available for reservation. For most products, the reservations are open for days or weeks before they fill up. But there are products that will fill up nearly immediately. We originally just sent emails to those that had requested such. But the email that gets to one customer in a few seconds may not get to the next customer for a few minutes. And then, many are not accustomed to keeping an eagle eye on email these days. The next iteration was a service called “TellMyCell” which would send an SMS text to customers that had registered to receive them. But as the customer list grew, this service became expensive. It was costing $50+ to send a notification years ago – that would probably be $100+ today. The notifications also went out sequentially; meaning the first person on the list may get their test a couple minutes before the last person. And it still didn’t solve the problem for international customers or those with no mobile device. So, when the “Remind” system came about, it was a near perfect solution. You could simply text a code to get SMS notifications which were instantaneous. There were also options for an instantaneous app notification or the slower email notification. This has worked great for several years. But, Remind has finally entered that phase of their business where they need to capitalize on their investments. So, on 7/23/19, if you have more than 150 recipients you have to upgrade to a new pricing plan. And that pricing plan would cost us $8000+ yearly. We can’t afford that ongoing expense.
So we are currently working on an app for iOS and Android devices which will serve the same function. I don’t like asking customers to install an app just for notifications; but it is the most sensible solution at this point in time. We will also have a supplementary email system for those that don’t mind being a few minutes behind the curve. We may try and have the app serve more functions for our customers going forward; but initially we just want to provide the notification feature. Apple is a bit particular about what an app can do, so my developer has informed me that we will need to display some products just to simplify the certification phase.
I understand that changing these things around is burdensome. And we wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t necessary. But we will try and make it as painless as possible. But one thing for sure is that we cannot retain any contacts from the old system. Thus, anyone wishing to receive future messages will be required to re-register with the new tools. Details well be coming as the new system is implemented.