Topic: The Process For An Insider
I know there's a lot of very curious people out there wondering about the details of the Insider process.
While I can't give you any official details from Chumby, I did receive my Insider invitational e-mail and thought I should share a bit.
Now I'm not sure when I signed up for the e-mail alerts, but I did do it multiple times and once way back when they were still looking for homes for the prototypes.
On September 18 I got home from work and discovered the following e-mail sent at 4:56 PM EST:
Greetings from Chumby Industries!
In appreciation of your past interest in the chumby, we wanted to let you know that a small number of "Insider's Release" chumbys are available on a first come, first served basis.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the chumby lately, you'll find the compact device is packed with features: access to the free Chumby Network loaded with cool widgets and content, 3.5" LCD color touchscreen, wi-fi connectivity, two external USB 2.0 full-speed ports, 350 Mhz ARM processor, 64MB SDRAM, 64 MB NAND flash ROM, stereo 2W speakers, headphone output, squeeze sensor, accelerometer (motion sensor), and leather casing.
We also have a great selection of widgets for the chumby and we're working on more every day. Have you checked out all the things you can do with a chumby? Use it like an electronic photo frame for your pictures on Flickr or Facebook. Wake up to the multi-tone alarm clock. Monitor incoming email on any POP3 account. Track any eBay auction. Use it as an iPod player. Catch the latest news headlines or use keywords to search for specific stories. Browse the widgets at http://www.chumby.com/guide to see all the things you can do.
The best part about the chumby? It never stops evolving. Because of its ability to receive over-the-air updates, your chumby will take advantage of our continual software improvements, and we have some very interesting additions that we're working on. Hoping the chumby can do something in the future? The future is always just around the corner for the flexible chumby!
HOW TO ORDER
Go to the Chumby Store at http://store.chumby.com and sign in using the following information:
Email Address: ...
Choose a black, latte or pearl chumby and check out. If you see a message that the chumby you selected is temporarily out of stock, you can choose another color or backorder the color you want. (We anticipate that inventory may quickly be depleted; if your chumby is placed on backorder, it should be delayed at most by three weeks).
Insider's Release buyers are limited to one chumby each. Please do not share your credentials; if more than one order is placed using your email address and password, the order will not be processed.
After checking out, your order will be placed and you will see a "thank you" screen and receive a confirmation email. If you have any problems during the ordering process, please contact our Customer Support Team at http://www.chumby.com/help/service .
Your chumby will be shipped within a week, and you will receive a shipping confirmation email with tracking information.
We hope you enjoy your new chumby!
VP Product Management
Chumby Industries, Inc.
So I obviously said "Yay!" and rushed to the store, where I placed an order for a latte Chumby with free charm set for the price of $179.95 USD. No shipping, no handling, no tax - how wonderful! I opted not to purchase another set of charms as I'm not sure I'll use the free set, but there's a total of 5 sets each one is $10 and consists of 3 different charms.
A few minutes later (5:08 PM EST) I got my receipt for the transaction.
Thanks for ordering from the Chumby Store!
If this is your first purchase, welcome to the Chumby community! If you've purchased from us before, thanks for being a loyal customer. We like having you in the "chumbysphere."
When your product ships, we'll send you a shipment confirmation email. If applicable, the order will also show a shipping tracking number (this will depend on the carrier). You should receive your order within five business days after it has been shipped.
If the item you purchased is currently out of stock, it will ship as soon as it's available. Your credit card will not be charged until your order ships.
To check the status of your order, sign in at store.chumby.com. After you've signed in you'll go to your Order History page where you can click on the Detail button for more information about your order.
Thanks again for shopping with us,
My Address, PA
Phone: My Phone Number
My E-mail Address Order Number: ...
Order Time: 9/18/2007 2:08:08 PM
Current Status: In Process
My Credit Card & Last 4 Digits $179.95
Promotional Code(s): none
Special Instructions: none
Qty SKU Product Name Unit Price
1 CHLATTE3NXXXX latte chumby Unshipped $179.95
Grand Total: $179.95
Please save this email in case you have any questions about your order.
That e-mail looks a bit messy without the HTML formatting, but you get the idea. I then went back to handling everything else I had planned to do that day. The next morning I woke up to a new e-mail sent at 2:35 AM EST.
Hi from the Chumby Store!
We wanted to let you know that your order has shipped and that it should arrive within 5 business days.
Your shipment tracking number for order # ... is: ... http://wwwapps.ups.com/etracking/tracking.cgi...
You can track the shipping status by clicking on the link (if the link is on two separate lines, you may need to paste the information from the second line into your web browser's address bar).
If the carrier's site isn't showing your order, check back again later. We assign the number as soon as we process the package; the carrier may still need to enter it into their system.
Thanks again for shopping with us,
It had shipped already!! Geez that was quick! I hoped over to UPS found that it is expected to be here on September 25! Great news considering two days earlier my Xbox 360 finally gave me the dreaded RROD and would thus be in the shop when Halo 3 comes out that same day. I then went to see if the charge came through on my credit card, and sure enough it had.
So now I'm anxiously counting down the days and checking UPS far too often. As you can see it's traveling all the way around the world:
Status: In Transit - On Time
Scheduled Delivery: 09/25/2007
Shipped To: ... PA, US
Shipped/Billed On: 09/19/2007
Weight: .80 Kg
Location Date Local Time Description
LOUISVILLE, KY, US 09/21/2007 1:19 P.M. IMPORT SCAN 09/21/2007 9:31 A.M. IMPORT SCAN
ANCHORAGE, AK, US 09/20/2007 11:30 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN 09/20/2007 1:20 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
CHEK LAP KOK, HK 09/20/2007 7:43 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
CHEK LAP KOK, HK 09/19/2007 3:05 P.M. HUB SCAN 09/19/2007 3:01 P.M. HUB SCAN
SHENZHEN, CN 09/19/2007 11:46 A.M. ORIGIN SCAN
CN 09/19/2007 12:32 A.M. BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED
Tracking results provided by UPS: 09/21/2007 7:06 P.M. ET
I was a bit surprised to see that they're sending these out with free expedited shipping from China. It's somewhat disappointing to know that my Chumby will be more traveled than me, and even more so that it got to go to places I've been hoping to go (Alaska), but I think I'll manage to forgive and forget.
Well, that's all for now. I'll try to keep you updated when my little buddy finally arrives from his (her?) global travels!
For the Chumbians I should add that everything has gone really swimmingly. All the e-mails have been prompt and everything is well worded and looks great. (And I'll be sending an e-mail to the support address when I've got my Chumby and can give more thoughts on everything as a whole.)
I only have a few suggestions so far:
I think the store needs to have an estimated shipping date listed in the future. I can understand that that is probably still slightly unknown so it makes sense to not have it now.
The e-mail receipt should include the time zone of the order time.
The shipping confirmation e-mail should include some links back to the Chumby store for checking on the order and getting the tracking number there.
The website addresses in both the receipt and the shipping e-mail should probably include the http:// prefix for better copy/pasting or automatic linking by e-mail programs.
I now have a separate username/password for the store, the main site, and the forums. Could the store and main site be consolidated as it's a bit of a pain having three different ways to login?
The order history details should include the ship date, and whatever is supposed to happen when you click the "Details here" link for the "Shipment Tracking Number" isn't completing. It opens a page with the tracking number and a link to UPS, but sits there claiming to still be Loading minutes later (in Firefox 18.104.22.168 on XP SP2).
Now I'm going to have to seriously look at how one creates widgets!
EDIT: Another note, we could also use some more General sections of the forums, for just general chatter or something like this post (which I didn't know where else to put).