OnePlus has had its ups and downs, but there is no doubt they are on their way to a very successful future. The startup raised from the dust and quickly made a home in the heart of Shenzhen, where they have built the best HQ offices we have seen in a long time.
Their first smartphone, the OnePlus One also become one of the most desired smartphones within the tech community. How did they make it to this point in a world where it seems only the manufacturing giants can really accomplish success? OnePlus does have some tricks up its sleeve, and other manufacturers should really take note of them.
Disclaimer: I am not a OnePlus fanboy. This post is part of a series of opinion pieces in which we uncover all the good things multiple manufacturers are doing. Highlighting successful tips creates more awareness. We have also created versions for Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Xiaomi.
Best bang for your buck
OnePlus is all about affordability. Their One smartphone (as well as other products) easily beats the competition. And not because it’s “the best phone” out there (though it is very close to being it), but mostly because of its price.
The OnePlus One came with specs that matched the best smartphones around. Yet they managed to undercut the competition by selling the device for nearly half the money ($300). How could they do this? Not even the Nexus line accomplished affordability at this level.
Social media holds immense power
Gone are the days when companies were forced to pay for mainstream advertising in order to promote their products. Social media has changed the world, opening opportunities for manufacturers to show off their products for little to no cost.
OnePlus has been all about hyping its smartphone vi social networks, from day 1. And they were very good at hyping their smartphone. The little details they kept giving us showed an amazingly powerful device that would be priced at an unbelievable price. Word quickly spread, turning their online campaign into one of the most successful we have seen.
This meant they didn’t have to deal with paying for traditional advertising, and those savings could be transferred to you.
Minimize profits to build a brand
OnePlus is investing in the future, which means the company is not focused on making a profit, at least for the first couple years, they say. Their plan is to bring affordability and get the OnePlus One (and Two) to as many hands as possible.
Profits can come once the brand gets more recognition and selling power. I would also like to see them taking the Xiaomi approach, which focuses on making money of selling content, not devices. We don’t know what OnePlus’ plans may be for when they grow more, though.
The ups and downs of the invite system
The invite system has been one of the most criticized business strategies used by OnePlus, but it comes with its good sides. While it’s true it can be annoying to have to get an invite for a phone you really want to just pay for, the invite system also ensures that OnePlus doesn’t get over-loaded with work.
It’s important that these smaller manufacturers don’t make more devices than they can sell. A surplus of products means money going down the drain, after all. They need a system in order to make sure supply doesn’t exceed demand, and the invite system works. I will accept it would be nicer if they did it the Xiaomi way, though, in which they simply have batches of devices released (and sold out) periodically.
Turning customers into fans
So OnePlus is not going to break selling records (yet), but their customers are more than just paying patrons. Most OnePlus users know their stuff, and they purchased the phone because they love the product and the company.
These enthusiasts or “fanboys” pretty much become spokespersons and advertisers for your company. A fanboy will defend and promote your brand, and that holds a lot of power.
OnePlus did a great job at this. Not only is their product amazing and affordable, but OnePlus has a strong connection with the community. The phone was designed and made with public feedback in mind, after all.