Hello fellow cyclists,
With November having come and gone, we are sure many of you are eagerly waiting on an update. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet our goal of shipping out our first batch of units at the end of November. In this update, we will explain what’s currently stalling our project, and the ways in which we are working hard to remedy this situation. It’s an update on the longer side but we hope you’ll read it in full.
Current Production Status
Production is currently ongoing, and while we aren’t producing units as quickly as we had hoped, we are increasing the output steadily. Our team and our partners are working very hard to get the units assembled, checked, and packaged (see end of the update for pictures directly from our manufacturing partners). We really want to share SmartHalo 2 with you all now, but there is currently a major snag, beyond our control, that we are trying to overcome.
The Holidays & The Great “Shipageddon”
For the past few updates, we’ve mentioned how the pandemic has been causing difficulties with the production of our units. Shipping has been touched upon briefly in our updates but the situation has been exacerbated due to the approaching holidays.
With the pandemic affecting how people are shopping for the holidays, shipping companies are finding themselves in more demand than they can handle. As a result, this holiday season will be unlike any other. In fact, some shipping companies are calling this year’s holiday season “Shipageddon”. Shipping rates have increased exponentially, to a point where smaller businesses (us included) are unable to afford the rates that are currently being offered. Additionally, the limited spaces available on cargo flights are making it impossible for many businesses to ship their products at all.
Unlike the giants like Amazon and other big-name retailers, smaller businesses such as ours deal with smaller volumes of orders and can’t receive preferential rates and treatment for shipping that they do. We are also shipping freshly produced units from Asia to all over the world, which is a longer process than that of retailers working with stock that is already in local warehouses. Currently, shipping costs have more than tripled from the original amount we charged our backers, with no guarantee that it will arrive before Christmas.
You might be wondering how a project that raised over a million dollars is unable to afford the increased shipping costs, and we would like to be honest with you about the cost of our project. SmartHalo 2 has been a much more expensive venture than we had originally predicted due to the struggles and delays the pandemic has caused.
With our devices priced with the average cyclist in mind, and with plans to continue to update and improve the software long term, our margins are already quite small. This means we do not have the capacity to fund the tripled shipping cost for the thousands of units to be delivered.
Please note that unfortunately, individual shipping of devices is not possible, as the cost of the logistics and transport involved would be much higher than even the updated commercial rates we are sharing above. The only option is to ship our orders in bulk to each territory to be dispatched.
The Updated Timeline
Now that we’ve explained the Shipageddon of 2020, we’re sure you’re wondering what that means for our timeline.
Once the holidays are over, we are expecting shipping prices to drop, but most likely not to the levels of the quotes we had during the planning phase of our project. This means that, although it is the fastest option, shipping the units by plane may not be feasible. We will nevertheless be keeping a close eye on the rates, but it’s unlikely that it will be possible.
Please know that our team is looking at every avenue possible to face this new challenge. As we are awaiting new quotes and estimated delivery times, we can’t provide a firm timeline yet. But, we’d rather be as realistic as possible even though the news hurts: considering the delays associated with alternative shipping methods, units probably won’t make their way to you before March. We will update you as soon as we receive clearer timelines from our logistics partners.
We understand that these delays are incredibly frustrating for our backers, and our team shares these frustrations — we want nothing more than to be able to finally have SmartHalo 2 out for everyone to enjoy.
Pictures! And What 2020 Has Felt Like For SmartHalo HQ
Each of us that make up the small team here in Montreal is feeling the insurmountable pressure that comes from disappointing our backers time and time again. The reality is that this pandemic has had consequences on every single level of not just our business, but on our personal lives as well.
While SmartHalo 2 is a bike accessory, it is also our dreams, ideas, and livelihood for those of us working on it. We are trying our best with the cards dealt to us. We hope that the new year will bring forth some better luck!
We wanted to end this update with some photos from our factory. Despite the frustratingly long journey SmartHalo 2 has been, we are truly nearing the finish line. Here are some photos of assembled units that are on their way to be packaged and stored!
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions. We can’t thank you enough for supporting us through this strange year, and now this holiday season.
– The SmartHalo Team