The Adelie keyboard goes live for Group Buy tomorrow, September 26, 2020, at 11 AM EDT - and it will be the first product to be released behind our new custom checkout system! There will be 100 units available for $550 each.

Our checkout system was built on top of Shopify's checkout. We don't collect any personally identifiable information (PII) from people going through the checkout, and we also rely on Shopify's PCI DSS compliant checkout flow to collect shipping, billing, and payment information.

But the steps before that are not at all the same! For our checkout system, we decided to take the best of two different styles of sales - FCFS and Raffle - add in some anti-bot logic on top of that, and create a new "Raffle Queue" release system.

Customers will be greeted with a project screen, where they can then "Join" a queue to potentially purchase a new release. The queue is not a normal FCFS queue though - there is a raffle element as well. Every so often, there is a chance that you'll be let through the queue, even if you weren't the first to enter. This is similar to release systems used by Adidas, Yeezy Supply, and Dick's Sporting Goods on sneaker releases.

After getting through the queue, customers will then see an "add to cart" page, where they can select their desired items. Once items are selected, customers will enter another queue to go to the Shopify-powered checkout.

One important thing to know is that we do not reserve items for you at any point during this process, and until then, the items can run out and you'll have to start over from the beginning. Your order is only guaranteed once you have completed the checkout flow and paid. Items with low stock will be labeled on the cart page, and it's up to each customer to decide if they want to risk items running out while they are in the checkout queue, or if they'd rather grab something with more stock, and a higher chance of successfully checking out.

No anti-bot checkout system is perfect and we understand that ours isn't either. But we're committed to continuing to improve. Our system does collect some data on usage, and we'll use this data to inform further improvements.

There are some features we'd like to add to our release system which just didn't make the cut for this first round. We don't support product pages at this time. When you get to the add to cart page, you'll just see the photos and titles of items. And while you can select color options, layout options, etc. as part of the checkout process - unlike in prior GBs, these can't be changed after the fact. Mobile support is also far from ideal, though the site is usable.

All of these are planned to be added to our checkout system - but in the meantime, placeholder project pages will exist on the CannonKeys normal storefront, we will not be able to change options once an order is placed, and those looking to join on mobile may find the UI a bit weird looking.

So what are the implications for Adelie? Tomorrow, a product page will appear on our normal storefront at 11 AM EDT. That product page will not allow you to buy anything, but in the product description, there will be a link to our new release site. From there, you'll be able to experience our new checkout process!

As with anything new, there might be unexpected bugs or issues. We've tested our system and we are confident that it will work - we wouldn't be using it if this weren't the case - but there could still be problems. In the case of this happening, we'll keep everyone updated in our Discord with the most up-to-date information, and likely schedule a new drop in the near future.

We want to especially thank yui for helping us develop our frontend for this app. She's definitely helped accelerate getting this out and ready for use, and has been a great collaborator through this process.

September 25, 2020 — Andrew Kannan