In the past couple weeks, we've started shipping Bigscreen Beyond to international customers. Today, we'll share details about each region and the complex work we've done to ensure smooth operations.
How international orders work
Bigscreen Beyond is different from traditional electronics and ecommerce products. For traditional electronics, manufacturers build a lot of units (typically in China) and inventory them in warehouses or distributors (ex. Amazon) around the world. This is impossible for Bigscreen because every Beyond is custom-made for each customer at a factory that we own and operate in Los Angeles, California where we perform custom manufacturing, calibration, assembly, quality control, packing, and fulfillment of headsets, cushions, and prescription lenses.
This means every headset, cushion, and prescription lens order – even if you live outside the United States – gets made in our Los Angeles facility.
Fast delivery and customer support for international orders
For international customers, we've taken 3 steps to enable fast deliveries and rapid support after your purchase: regional offices, replacement inventory in regions, and expedited air freight.
International orders are shipped from Los Angeles to offices in Japan, Australia (covering Australia and New Zealand), and the Netherlands (covering the European Union and UK). Every couple weeks, we batch orders together and ship them to each regional office in large pallets. Some people have asked why we don't ship each unit directly from LA to a customer regardless of their location in the world. The reason is because of customs and regulations. We have far too much scale and volume and are required to ship units in large pallets so they can easily clear through customs in bulk. Once headsets arrive in a local region (ex. Netherlands), they're handed off to regional shippers for the last mile of distribution.
Your order may have shipped from Los Angeles, but your tracking number may not get updated until it's handed off to your regional shipper (ex. PostNL, UPS, JapanPost, etc.).
Regional customer support and replacement inventory
Upon receiving your Beyond, you may find yourself needing customer support. For example, you may need a replacement cable or even change the size of your headset. Around 10% of customers need to switch to a different IPD and it's a common support request.
Our goal is to provide rapid support, both in the USA and globally. We achieve this with regional support staff particularly in Europe and Japan, so you don't need to ship your Beyond back to Los Angeles to get support. For example, a customer in France can send their unit to our Netherlands office when they need an RMA.
Expedited air freight
Companies typically rely on far more cost effective ocean freight to ship inventory to distributors in Asia, North America, Europe, etc. However, we've gone the extra mile and instead use expedited air freight. We've done this at our own significant expense, without passing the costs on to our customers. We recognize that Beyond has already taken a long time to deliver for some customers, and we don't want people to wait any longer than necessary!
Shipment update for Feb-Sep 2023 orders
The details below are for international orders made between February-September 2023, which originally had a "Q4 2023" estimated timeframe for shipment. These orders slipped a bit into Q1 2024. Here's why:
The Beyond passed all electronics and wireless certifications in mid-to-late 2023 for each country (ex. FCC, CE, RCM, TELEC). We began preparing for operations in our largest regions in the summer of 2023. However, the paperwork for customs, taxes, etc. with various local governments has taken far longer than anticipated. Almost all international orders (EU, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada) have been manufactured, passed QC, and packed in our Los Angeles factory in the past 1-2 months. They're sitting here waiting for the green light from each regional authority.
Canada - We began shipping units to Canada 2 weeks ago and have successfully delivered 89% of Canadian orders. Unfortunately, the shipping company (UPS) is incorrectly asking many customers to pay taxes and duties before delivering the goods. This is not expected. Bigscreen covers the cost of customs duties, shipping, and taxes (which was paid for by customers during checkout). We're working to resolve this issue with UPS as customers should not be getting billed. Rest assured that customers will not be responsible for these costs (Bigscreen will reimburse the costs), and this problem was a configuration failure that won't happen again. If you have any concerns or questions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Australia & New Zealand - 99% of Australian and New Zealand units are packed and ready to go. We're finalizing an unanticipated issue with a shipping company that has taken a couple extra weeks. We expect to ship the first batch of Australian and New Zealand units within the next 2 weeks.
European Union - As of February 5, we've received all the approvals we need to begin shipping to Europe, starting with the Netherlands. We expect the first batch to ship to Netherlands customers within the next few days. Orders for rest of the EU are expected to ship in weekly batches from late February through April. EU orders ship from Los Angeles to the Netherlands, and then ship to customers within the EU.
United Kingdom - 99% of UK units are packed and ready to go. We're waiting for the UK government to finalize our registrations. We expect their approvals within a couple weeks. We expect to start shipping UK orders by late February or early March. UK orders ship first to our Netherlands facility, and then to the UK. This means deliveries will take place in March-April, as it takes some time for units to transit from Los Angeles to the Netherlands and finally to the UK.
Japan - 100% of Japanese units are about to ship. They were scheduled to ship 2 weeks ago but unfortunately we were held up last minute due to an unanticipated issue with our original plan of importing products into Japan. We're filing the necessary customs documentation now and expect to ship almost all units to our Japan facility by the end of February, with local deliveries to Japanese customers by late February or early March.
Shipment update (October 2023 to present)
All orders (globally) placed in October 2023 through today are expected to ship in April 2024 . This was the original estimate and remains on track with no anticipated delay. Many October 2023 orders have already shipped. New orders placed now should deliver by April or May 2024.
Introducing new merch!
We've also got some exciting new merch and products to share! Today, we're launching the Bigscreen Beyond Storage Can in both Bigscreen and VRChat flavors. The Bigscreen Beyond x VRChat Storage Can is exclusively designed by the VRChat team!
We're also going to begin selling replacement parts such as straps, cables (5-meter fiber optic cable), and link boxes, as well as other merch such as t-shirts.
The Storage Can is the size of a soda can with a lid that pops off and a foam lining on the interior to protect the Beyond from scratches. Shockingly, the Beyond fits inside! Please note: this is not a functional soda can, and it is intended for decorative storage on your bookshelf. It is not suitable for liquids, and is not a box for shipping/transportation as the lid may open unintentionally.
In the next update, we'll discuss the Audio Strap and other merch/accessories. We've actually already shipped quite a few Audio Straps to testers for feedback and implemented multiple changes thanks to their feedback! After months of production and multiple iterations (known as DVTs in manufacturing), we're now finalizing mass production and product certification. We're expecting to ship Audio Straps to customers worldwide in April and May.