Have you ever signed up for an invite only product launch? You know, like Pinterest back in the day, or Google Voice. You go to a website, insert your email address, and then wait for an indeterminate period of time to get your official invitation to access the product or service.
Being one of the first people to experience a new product gives folks a sense of excitement and pride. The only problem with this model is that often times folks who aren’t at the very front of the invitation line totally lose interest in the product or service while they wait for their official access.
Well, let me introduce Orchestra Inc, a company that has successfully hacked the brains of hundreds of thousands of tech lovers with a stroke of UX and marketing brilliance.
Orchestra Inc is currently in the process of launching their new app Mailbox. Rather than making you enter your email address and then forget their product, they’ve set up a system in which you download a dummy app that serves as your “reservation.” You can then open the app and view a live updated number of “people in front of you” as well as the number of people who signed up after you, who are basically standing behind you in line.
This method has generated all the excitement of standing in line outside an Apple store the day of an iPhone launch, (without the horrible weather, weirdos and excessive boredom) because you can see the “line getting shorter” every time you look at the app. They actually rewind the number of people in front of you on the screen, rather than just showing an updated number.
If you think about it, they are rolling out the service like most cloud based services have in the past. They’re adding accounts a little at a time to make sure things are going to scale properly, with increasingly rapid implementations over time. But instead of people losing interest while they wait, folks are getting more and more excited as time goes on. I’m currently “in line” behind half a million people, but have checked my “status” at least 4 times in the past 8 hours. There is something immensely satisfying about watching the number of folks in line in front of me fly downward.
This entire concept is absolutely brilliant. From a marketing perspective, the popularity is blowing up. They allow you to tweet that you’ve made your reservation, which has led to a social media driven download frenzy. From a UX stance, the reservation system has led to a giant pile of unexpected delight in the app’s future users.
I have the feeling this is going to become a common practice for new product launches (especially apps) in months to come. I sincerely hope that the person or people who came up with this concept are given giant raises in the very near future.
In addition to a completely awesome product launch campaign, the app itself is fabulous. It has a beautifully designed, clean UI and I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on it.
All I have left to say is “Bravo!” to the whole team at @mailbox. And, if you haven’t yet, make your Mailbox app reservation in iTunes today. You’ll be WAY behind ME of course… but you know… we can’t all be first in line.
This blog post was inspired by a tweet from Ian Smile @endashes, thanks for the inspiration.