When a Knife Draw Becomes a Necessity
What we have. We have spent a lot of time and money at CollectorKnives to make our lives easier while providing tools to make the shopping experience less tedious for our customers. The Early Reserve System (ERS) has been a booming success, but we have found it’s limitations.
When the factory informs us of a normal upcoming production run, the ERS is a great tool to casually let customers put their names on items well in advance in order to A) help them know that there is one with their name on it, such that they can avoid the last minute scramble. And, B) help us to gauge the demand for each given variant of each given run.
What is the problem? There are a couple of runs that are in such high demand; the system simply can’t take it. Whether opening the Early Reserve or just having a drop; there are way too many customers that can be on the system in a matter of seconds. I could increase my server size by 300% the capacity and 400% the cost; all of which would be a waste the other 364 days of the year. I am not interested in that.
The other issue is that invariably on these reservations, I get many complaints because it open and closes many times within a minute. That doesn’t give a vast majority of customers any chance to react.
This is a simplified view of the problem, although there are many underlying issues / concerns that we are trying to fix in a completely fair environment.
How are we going to solve it? For the very high demand items (currently #77 and Campagna SFO’s only), we are going to implement a random draw allocation. In this solution, when we open a reservation draw, the ERS Notifications (explained on the ERS system) will be sent with a url to a small form (Email Address). The draw will be open for one hour, unless otherwise noted, such that all customers interested can submit their entry for the drawing. After one hour the entry form will be closed and the drawing initiated. We will draw for “Guaranteed Reserve” and “Standby Reserve”. For example, if we have contracted for 125 knives – we will draw for 115 Guaranteed Reserve winners and 25 Standby Reserve winners. We don’t want to guarantee all of them as the factory typically has a few with issues once completed. Also, there are typically a few people that do not show up for the purchase. Thus, once the Guaranteed folks have been given their allotted time to pick up their knife; we will start down the Standby list until all knives are claimed.
Not only will we notify all entrants of their result, but the certified draw website will have a certified result page where participants can use their email address to verify their a) inclusion, and b) result.
The tool we are going to use is RandomPicker.
What else? We have also tried to solve the timing issues for most customers. Although we do not ship internationally, we do have many customers internationally. And we don’t want to put them up at 3 am just to participate. So we will try to have most drawings around 4-5 pm Central.
As with any solution, everyone will not love this. My apologies. Our main goal is fairness to everyone with some level of cost awareness.
Any rules? There will probably be many rules added as time goes on. But the current rules will be presented during your submission as “Terms”. Generally, don’t try to enter more than once – in any form or fashion. Doing so will get a permanent ban from future draws. This includes using family members, associates, et.al. Also, every entrant email must be associated with a CollectorKnives member account in good standing on the ERS (not restricted from “Sure” reservations). This is a carryover rule-set from the existing ERS, nothing new.