By Adam Ketcheson, CMO
Last week we wrapped up the first leg of our North Pop-up Showroom tour, bringing Focals to customers at stops in Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Clara. We also ran a few special events with our peers at Intel, Google and Facebook along the way.
It was so exciting and rewarding for us to meet everyone who came out, rain or shine. We learned a ton and can consider the inaugural journey a great success. We sold out every single available appointment slot we had - even after doubling the number of appointments we had available to the public.
Hitting the Road
We’ve wanted to take Focals on the road since day one. Our Showrooms in Toronto and Brooklyn are a premium location for anyone to experience the future of smart glasses, but there are a lot of people outside these cities that are excited to try Focals for themselves and can’t necessarily travel across the country to see for themselves.
As I wrote in my prior blog, in-person experiences like this are critical for a breakthrough technology like Focals. We’ve launched a product unlike anything most of our customers have ever seen, and giving them the chance to try Focals in-person, makes all the difference.
We were really overwhelmed by and grateful for the amount of support we had on the road from customers, partners, press and, yes, a few curious competitors. As I mentioned, our initial appointment model under-estimated the level of demand we ended up seeing. We were overwhelmed by the amount of interest in Focals and had to find a way to increase our daily appointments to accommodate more people. At every stop along the way, our appointments sold out and even more came for demos as walk-ins - taking a chance, but showing up regardless.
Snow and Rain
Not everything cooperated along the way...we had our fair share of hiccups.
With the polar vortex in full swing, the actual build-out of our Pop-up Showroom was completed in Hoth-like temperatures here in Waterloo. Once we hit the road, we caught some of the worst weather Seattle and Portland had seen this winter - with freezing temperatures and snow for many of the days we were meeting customers. Even after we made it to San Francisco, we caught what seemed like an endless onslaught of rain. I’m super proud of our team on the ground for their resilience and passion in the face of some rough conditions and I’m grateful for our customers who braved the weather to try Focals.
Someone asked me what surprised me most about our time on the road. It’s a hard question to answer. We’re in the process of trying to break into a brand new category, so almost everything we do is a surprise. That being said, we’re also prepared as an organization to live and thrive in that environment of invention and iteration. We’re constantly pioneering new ideas - and our mobile sizing experience is just one step in a long journey. Some of those ideas are going to be successful (and some are going to hit a blizzard), but we are going to constantly be moving forward through it all.
Next, we’ll be heading to Vision Expo East, Intel Capital Global Summit, Amazon’s MARS Conference and we’re already building V2 of our mobile showroom to take out on the road again this spring.
If you want us to come to your city, sign up here. Maybe we’ll drop by...