Fans lined up to buy OnePlus 6T on Nov 2 at pop-up events and this shows that the OnePlus juggernaut rolls on
You can say that for OnePlus, it is almost turning into a habit. Since the unveiling of the OnePlus 3, every new OnePlus phone launch is accompanied by two crucial elements: rave reviews for the new OnePlus phone (because starting with the OnePlus 3 the company has put out a top quality phone almost every six months without fail), and fans and OnePlus community members lining up in front of its stores and pop-up events to check out and buy the new OnePlus phone. It has been the same with the OnePlus 6T which launched in India on October 30.
On November 2, OnePlus held pop-up events in 8 cities, and at every event, its staff saw the fans queuing up to get dibs on the OnePlus 6T. The scene were similar to the pop-up events held during the launch of the OnePlus 6. There is another company that too gets queues -although they are getting shorter now even as the queues in the case of OnePlus grow longer -and that company is Apple. But of late, at least in India, it is safe to say that the queues on the first day of sale for the new OnePlus phones are longer than what we have seen for the latest iPhones.
What fuels the queues? There is no doubt that much of it is because the OnePlus 6T is a remarkably good phone. In fact, unlike a few earlier OnePlus phones that seemed to lack one thing or the other, the OnePlus 6T feels like a true high-end phone that can more than match the likes of the Google Pixel 3, Galaxy S9, and even the iPhone XR. But that is not the only reason why some OnePlus fans in Bangalore were in a queue at the venue of the November 2 pop-event from around 11.30pm on November 1.
The scenes were similar in other cities. In Delhi, people started coming in to the OnePlus pop-up event venue at 2 am in the night. In Pune, they formed lines at 5 am. In Chennai, at 5:15 am. In most other cities, for example in Hyderabad, fans who were first to arrive at the pop-up event venue were more than happy to wait two to three hours before venue was opened.
The bigger reason behind the queues is probably a strong fan following, which OnePlus has managed to create with a mix of promotional campaigns, some honest communication -- the latest example being how it told the world that it was changing OnePlus 6T launch event due to the Apple event -- its emphasis on delivering a clean, premium experience with its products and its ability to listen to feedback from users.
In the past couple of years, OnePlus product teams have often met people who use the company products, have figured out their needs and have used their feedback to improve their phones. Along the way, OnePlus has also successfully made its fans and the community, a part of its journey. It has started inviting fans to the launch events, and while these invites are based on tickets that need to be purchased, fans who buy tickets also get gifts from OnePlus. The value of these gifts is significantly more than what they pay for tickets. Then there are the pop-up events, where OnePlus fans get a chance to experience the new product, meet the OnePlus team, buy the product before anyone else, have coffee and snacks.
The rewards that OnePlus has doled out to its fans has prompted them to make a show of their loyalty. This loyalty manifests in long queues, and in some cases, events that will make any other phone company out there -- including, probably, Apple -- jealous. For example, at the pop-event in Ahmedabad on November 2, there were three friends who travelled from Udaipur, covering over 250 kilometres on their bikes, specifically to see and buy the OnePlus 6T. In Mumbai, there was a woman who had to catch a flight but she wanted to buy the OnePlus 6T to give it as a Diwali gift to her brother. She spoke to the OnePlus team and the company was happy to do a priority billing for her at the pop-up event so that she could catch her flight.
Little details matter, and for OnePlus, these little details seem to have always mattered. This manifests in the company's products. The right shade of the midnight black colour. The right curve of the glass. The right sort of finish for the aluminium frame. And beyond products, it now apparently manifests in the way the company works with its fans and community. In Chennai, a 62-year-old joined the pop-up event on November 2 to buy a OnePlus 6T. Being a senior citizen, he got a grander-than-usual reception from OnePlus staff. Little details matter and because OnePlus takes care of these little details, its fans are now rewarding the company.