Company re-launched. Long live RetroFreedom!

Today 10 November 2020, the webshop re-launched, having shut down earlier around March 2020 or so. I, Leah Rowe, have spent this time focusing on research/development for new products (retro games consoles, modified in various ways), which will soon be added to this webshop!

The business shut down earlier in 2020 at the start of the covid19 pandemic, as did many other businesses around the world. However, people in Europe and North America are largely going back to work now. Since the announcement in the media about vaccines coming soon, I (Leah Rowe, company director) anticipate that things are getting back to normal. That, combined with christmas season, made me decide to re-launch. As of today, I have many laptops in stock and I will soon be offering retro gaming systems.

The way the company operates is fundamentally different to the way it previously operated. The reliability and efficiency of the service has been greatly increased. This page explains how that has been achieved.

Laptops sold on the website come with 3 power cables included, when you buy: USA, EU and UK style plugs, and 110-240V auto-switching battery charger (works in all countries).

New, streamlined business operation

We now keep much more accurate stock reports on the website, by following this very simple rule: products are *packed* and *ready to ship* before you buy. A product is only considered as being “in stock” when it’s packed and ready to ship. In other words, if we had 100 laptops but none of them were boxed and ready to ship, then the website would tell you that 0 are in stock and would not let you buy any, until we add the stock.

We have our own system internally, developed in-house, for keeping track of every aspect of the business, to ensure that operations run smoothly.

When you place an order, the package is reserved for you, and only you. We then await payment, and provide you with the goods/services when we’ve received the payment. We then ship the package, using high quality UPS delivery service, and email you the tracking number. We allocate time each day to answer any questions you might have, via email. Simple!

This method of operation 100% avoids us becoming overworked. It is simply not possible for RetroFreedom to become overwhelmed with sales, because we only sell what is packed and ready to ship. Therefore, we only sell what we are humanly capable of selling. This eliminates burnout, and ensures long term reliability of the services that we provide.

How did we do it?

We now provide only a limited number of options to choose from. This is why we’re able to pre-pack ready for shipping, before the customer places an order. For example, laptops nowadays only come with 4G RAM and 250G HDD (in a few weeks from today, 10 November 2020, we plan to add 8G RAM + 480G SSD “kits” where you upgrade the RAM and SSD yourself, but the SSD already has Trisquel GNU+Linux installed on it, plus source code. Then you just boot it up).

Laptops and other products have been greatly simplified, while still offering the same products overall. However, we also provide more add-ons by default; for example, Libreboot X200 and X200 Tablet laptops now come *with* docking stations and CD/DVD RW drive *by default* (previously, these were optional add-ons that you purchased separately).

We have reduced the number of upgrade options, but provided *more* with the default option, for almost the same price. This means higher value for money, on products that you purchase from RetroFreedom. We are currently cheaper than several of our main competitors! However, our prices are sustainable; they are high enough that our business is comfortable and can continue to operate, while still being affordable to customers. We took great effort to find the correct balance.

How is the new operation different from the old operation?

In the past, we provided a nearly limitless number of options per laptop. You could choose any RAM/SSD/HDD combo and all kinds of extras were sold. This made sales unpredictable, because we just couldn’t predict which options a customer would choose. As a result of this extreme level of choice, laptops were previously assembled to order. In other words, the laptop was flashed, configured, tested and then packed, after you paid for your order.

The old operation had several major problems:

  • Pre-packing laptops was impossible, which meant that there was always 2-3 days of delay between payment received and actually shipping the laptop
  • Due to unpredictable sales, laptops+parts had to be ordered in excess volume, to reduce the chance of stock shortages
  • Sometimes, a customer would purchase a laptop with certain configuration and certain parts would be unavailable, which delayed shipment of those orders
  • The company was constantly overwhelmed, and burnout happened all the time

Nowadays, when you place an order and pay for it, the product(s) you ordered are guaranteed ready to ship, so shipment will occur immediately after you pay.