P L A N T S N I P I N G
We have made some updates to our sniping system. If you have never read this page before, then we suggest you jump to the next section on "What Is Plant Sniping" and read the page to become clear on plant sniping. Then come back to this next section to read the new updates. If you are familiar with plant sniping, then read the next few paragraphs for the new features of plant sniping.
A big on-going misconception of the snipe queue is that it is a "first come, first served" queue. The snipe queue for a plant is sorted first by customer class, then on a first com first served basis. Customers with higher customer classes are always higher in the queue than a customer with a lower class. Now, some people have stated that they would prefer the snipe queue to be in pure first come, first serve order. But the reality is they almost certainly would not. It's easy to think that's what you want when you set up a snipe for a plant, and are first in line for a plant, only to see yourself move down the queue in a few days. What you didn't see is that when you set up your snipe originally, you may have bumped 20 other customers because your customer class was higher than anyone else on the queue. In other words, at the moment you set up your snipe, you may have been the 21st customer to request a plant, and in a first come, first served system your queue position would have been 21. Instead, you jumped immediately first in line, and over a few days you may get bumped down to 4 or so. But you would still be far better off in this system than in a first come, first served system.
There are a couple of inherent problems with a first come, first served system. Many of our regular customers work odd hours, and can even be out of pocket or out of the country for days at a time with no internet service. So they may not be able to jump in on a new and very rare plant offering quickly. It would be a bit unfair for a customer who has never ordered from us before to be able to jump in line first in the snipe queue for a rare plant ahead of our customers who have ordered before, especially given the fact that some of our customers work jobs that can keep them from checking out our catalog on a regular basis.
Which brings us to one of the changes we have made. While we always want to give preference to our existing customers, and also give preference for customer loyalty, we also want to add preference for the amount of time a customer has been waiting for a plant on the snipe queue.
What we are emphasizing in this move is to get customers to set up their snipes sooner rather than later. This is because when a rare plant is offered from one of our vendors, we want to be able to instantly order the number we need to handle all requests on the snipe list. One issue we have had is that we may have 5 customers on the snipe queue for a plant, and ordered 6 plants from the vendor. After we order the plants, but before they are confirmed, customers with higher class codes may decide to go ahead and jump in on the action. The problem is that now we might have many more additional snipes than we originally had when we ordered the plants. Although our vendor may have had enough to cover these additional plants when we initially ordered, they might not now. This keeps us from ordering the quantities we truly need, and could have caused some customers to get bumped at the last minute.
So the change we have made is this: If you are a customer class 4 or higher, the amount of time you have been waiting on the snipe queue for a plant will be factored into your priority on the snipe queue. What the system will do if you have a customer class code of 4 or higher, is to add 2 more to your class code for each month you are on the snipe queue. So lets say that you have been on the snipe queue for 3 months for a plant, and you are a class 4 customer. Your effective class code for that particular plant will be the class code 4, plus 2 times the number of months on the queue which is 3, which equals 4 + ( 2x3) = 10. So even though your customer class code is 4, your effective class code for a plant in which you have been on the queue is 10. This means that a customer who is not on the snipe queue for that plant will have to have a customer class of higher than 11 to bump you. This means that the longer you are on the snipe queue, the more rare it will be to be bumped.
The real key here is to make sure you set your snipes up early. Don't wait until a plant is ordered from a vendor to try to jump onto the snipe list, or else the power of your customer class code alone may not overcome a customer with a lower class code who's been on the list for a longer period of time.
Remember, you have to be a class code of 4 or higher in order for the system to also take into account the length of time you've been on the queue.
What Is Plant Sniping?
Plant sniping is a way for you to request / reserve a plant that we currently have no quantities available for ordering. If the current availability for an item we normally carry in stock is zero, then you will see a button next the the item in the catalog. This means you can set up a "snipe" for that item by clicking the snipe button. You will only see the snipe button if the item is something that we have a source for. For instance, you will not see a snipe for Nepenthes mollis, because there is currently no source for that plant. Once an item has an inventory number set up for it, you can snipe it as long as the availability is zero. (If the availability is not zero, then you can simply add it to your cart and don't need to snipe it.)
Another thing snipes do is to allow you to request a plant that we normally dont carry in stock, such as is currently the case with the plant N. ampullaria "Williams Red". We don't usually have this plant in stock, but order it from Borneo Exotics for those who want one. Instead of emailing us to let us know you would like one, you can simply set up a snipe for it, and we will know that you want one.
Snipes also allow you to set up a request for plants from Exotica Plants. EP plants are typically tough to come by, and some very desirable forms are in extremely high demand. By setting up a snipe for some of the plants you have been wanting, you are basically placing yourself on the "snipe queue". This has the added benefit of letting us know how much demand there is for a certain plant so that we can try to bring in enough for everyone. Since many of EP's plants are very limited in availability, the snipe list also allows us to assign the limited number plants in a controlled and fair way.
Snipes also work to grab you an item that we do have in stock, but that currently have no availability because they are all reserved. If someone removes an item from their cart that you have a snipe for, or if the system automatically removes it because the customer failed to check out within their allotted time, then the system will grab that item for you and place it in your cart. This keeps you from having to constantly check the inventory and your hot list for the items you want.
Who Can Snipe?
Any US customer who has had their email address verified can snipe. Please note: when you set up a plant snipe, you are basically telling us to order that plant for you and that you will be buying it if we acquire one for you. Some plants must be imported in order to fulfill a snipe request, so initiating a snipe is basically telling us to start the import process. Importing is very expensive, and we are limited on each import as to how many plants we can bring in at a time. Having us import a plant you don't really want not or that you have buyers remorse over after we acquire it for you not only causes us to stock a plant we don't normally carry (and take up valuable greenhouse / chamber space) but it can also keep us from being able to import other plants on the shipment that people really do want. (Import shipments from some countries have a limitation as to how many plants we are allowed to bring in per shipment.) So remember, if you set up a snipe for a plant, you are basically wanting us to order it for you. Remember, you can always remove your snipe at any time before we acquire a plant for you. So if you set up a snipe for a plant, but are able to get it elsewhere before we order it for you, you can simply remove your snipe with absolutely no harm done.
A person can have their sniping capability limited or eliminated if they remove a sniped item from their cart or fail to checkout within their allotted amount of snipe cart time once a snipe has been acquired. Remove snipes that you no longer want before the system acquires one for you.
How Does Sniping Work?
The first thing to do is to set up a snipe for a plant you want. You do this by clicking the button next to the item you want. (YOU MUST BE LOGGED IN IN ORDER TO SEE THE SNIPE BUTTONS. REMEMBER ALSO THAT USING YOUR BROWSERS BACK BUTTON INSTEAD OF OUR BACK ARROW WILL ALSO LOG YOU OUT.)
You can see all of your current snipes and your sniping history from the PLANT SNIPE LIST button on the left hand side of your scree. . Each snipe has a unique transaction#. NOTE: In the catalog, the number of open snipes you have for an item will be listed right below the "SNIPE" button, so you can quickly determine if you already have a snipe set up for this particular plant.
Once you have a snipe set up, the system begins watching for the item. As soon as one becomes available the system will snipe it for you and place the item in your shopping cart automatically. The system will also send you an email when it has sniped an item for you. It's important to note that the item does not have to be a plant, you can snipe supplies, books, etc. ( NOTE: SOME EMAIL SERVERS WILL BLOCK OUR AUTOMATED EMAILS, SUCH AS THE SNIPE ACQUIRED EMAILS. CHECK YOUR EMAIL SAM FOLDER O MAKE SURE OUR EMAILS AREN'T GETTING FLAGGED AS SPAM. )
You will receive a separate email for each item when it has been sniped for you.
How Does The System Assign Sniped Items?
Our inventory control system has a sniping queue. On this queue are all items that need to be sniped. For each item, the queue is sorted by customer class, and then the order in which customers set up their snipes. This means that the snipe queue is NOT a first come first served queue, but is sorted by customer class, and then the order in which the customers set up their snipe. We'll explain this in an example later on this page.
Once the system finds an item thats available and that has open snipe requetsts for it, the system checks to see who is first in the snipe queue for that item and adds the item to that persons shopping cart.
How Do I View My Snipe Requests?
Click the button on the left hand side of your screen. This will display a screen that has four sections to it:
Section 1 - Open Snipes
Open snipes are snipes in which the system has not yet acquired a plant for. This list is sorted starting with the most recent snipe that was set up. (Descending By Snipe Date). Below is an example of an open snipe list:
|Transaction #||Inv #||Description||Date Snipe Created||Position In Queue||Remove Snipe|
|AAAAAAAACC||53980||Nepenthes izumiae x truncata (Exotica Plants Large Size)||01/06/2009||4|
|AAAAAAAACB||54406||Nepenthes truncata x xTrusmadiensis (Exotica Plants Small Size)||01/06/2009||2|
|AAAAAAAACA||54406||Nepenthes truncata x xTrusmadiensis (Exotica Plants Small Size)||01/06/2009||1|
You can view your snipe's current position on the snipe queue for each item. If you see a "1" in the "Position In Queue" column, this means that you will be the first person to grab this item when it becomes available. If you see an "8", it means you are the eigth in line in the queue, and there are 7 other people ahead f you. It's important to note that your queue position can change over time because of the customer class. We will cover that in the following sections. Your position in the queue will also move up higher as snipe requests are filled, or as snipes for this item are removed by customers higher in the queue, or as your customer class increases due to new purchases.
In the above example, we have an open snipe for N. izumiae x truncata. We are currently 4th in line for this plant, which means 3 other snipes are currently ahead of us and will get filled first.
In this example we also have two snipes set up for Inventory# 544406, which is a N. truncata s xTrusmadiensis (EP small size). With two snipes set up, we are telling the system we want two of this plant. We are currently 1st and 2nd in line for this plant.
You can click the button located next to each snipe if you no longer want the item. NOTE: It is very important to remove snipes that are no longer wanted. Failing to remove a snipe before the system acquires the item for you will negatively impact your snipping priority (customer class), and possibly you ability to snipe altogether. So it's important to review your snipe list regularly and remove any open snipes you no longer want.
Section 2 - Acquired Snipes
This list are snipes which were acquired by the system. The sniped items are either in your shopping cart or on an order. This list is sorted by the date the item was sniped, starting with the most recently sniped item. (Descending by sniped date)
Section 3 - Removed Snipes
This list will show you the snipes you removed. These are snipes that were once open, but that you removed before the system acquired the item for you. This list is sorted by the date the snipe was removed, starting with the most recent. (Descending by date removed)
Section 4 - System Removed Snipes
This list is basically the "bad list". These are snipes you set up, and that the system acquired the items for you, but that you failed to checkout in time or that you removed from your cart. If a sniped item is removed from your shopping cart, either by you or by the system, then that will negatively impact your future ability to snipe items. The reason for this is simple: when you set up a snipe, you are basically telling us that you want the plant. We may have to order the plant for you from overseas. We are limited on our imports from certain countries, and ordering a plant that you don't really want keeps us from bringing in additional plants that other customers really wanted. We need to keep our imports dedicated to plants that customers really want.
How Long Do I Have To Check Out A Sniped Item?
It's important to note that the amount of cart time you have to check out sniped items is your "preorder time", and is different than your normal "cart time". The amount of "preorder time" you have is determined by your customer class code. You can see the amount of cart time and snipe cart time by clicking the button.
How Can I Snipe Higher Quantities For An Item?
Each Snipe is for "1" of that item. Let's suppose you wanted to request 2 plants of a certain type; To do this, simply click the snipe button for that item again. This will set up an additional snipe transaction.
What Are Customer Class Codes?
Customer "class codes" are based upon the total dollar amount of items that have been shipped to a customer. This dollar amount is the item total, and does not include shipping or other charges. Customer class codes are updated every night. Customer class codes determine the priority of each of your snipes on the sniping queue. For each item, the sniping queue is sorted by customer class and then by the date the snipe was set up.
The following table shows the amount of shipped items it takes to reach each
class code, as well as the snipe cart time.
|Shipped $ Amount||Class Code||Snipe Cart Time (Days)|
For example, if you had a total of $700 worth of shipped items in your order history, then you would have a class code of 3, and would have 3 days of snipe cart time. You would be higher on the snipe queue than anyone else with a class code of 1 or 2, no matter when they setup their snipe. If other class 3 customers had snipes on the queue for the same item, then whoever set their snipe up first would be higher on the snipe queue. A customer who has a higher class code than you will always be higher on the queue, regardless of when they set up their snipe.
When your class code changes, any open snipes you have can be moved higher on the snipe queue for that item. This is because your snipe will now be a higher priority than any snipe of a customer with a lower class code, regardless of when that customer set up the snipe. Let's say that yesterday you were a class 3, and you had 5 other class 3 customers higher than you on the snipe queue for a particular item because they set their snipes up before you did. Last night, your class code was updated to a 4. You will now be moved higher than the 5 class 3 customers because your class code is now higher than theirs. You will also be moved higher than any class 4 customer who set their snipes up for that item after you.
Please note that some items, especially imported plants from Australia or other countries with fluctuating currency exchange rates, can see their price change practically every time we import. The price of an item is in effect when you CHECKOUT, not when you set a snipe up. Although the currency exchange rates dont usually change so much as to make a big difference in the price of an item, we simply don't know the final price until we are billed for the import, so the price can not be effective until then. The main point here is that the price of an item can change from the time a snipe was originally set up. Also, some new release plants from overseas have to have their prices estimated, as pricing for the plant may be currently unknown.
Frequently Asked Plant Snipe Questions
Question 1: "Why is the snipe cart time less than my normal cart
The answer has to do with the EP plants, and how quickly the imports arrive after we receive confirmation that the plants are available. The amount of time from EP confirmation to import arrival is usually right at 10-14 days. What has happened in the past is that some customers would reserve these plants as preorders, and have 2 weeks worth of cart time before checking out. The customer would fail to check out in time, the plant would be removed from their cart by the system, and another customer would grab it. The problem is, this new customer just had preorders from this import shipped to them, and now they will incur another shipping charge for this additional plant because their other plants have already shipped. So by decreasing the amount of snipe cart time, we ensure that by the time the EP plants arrive, they will be assigned to a customer who is ready for them right then, and that the customer doesn't have to incur a second shipping charge to have an additional plant added that became available only after their first shipment was already shipped.
Question 2: "Can the snipe system remove a plant from my shopping
cart and give it to someone else?"
The short answer is NO. A plant in your shopping cart is never removed unless you remove it, or unless you fail to checkout within the amount of cart time or snipe cart time that you have. The sniping system only "sees" plants that are available, not plants that are reserved in a shopping cart or on an order. Be aware that the sniping system immediately sees when a plant is available, and will be able to grab an available plant before anyone else. This is important to remember if you decide to remove a plant from your cart and quickly try to add it back. If there is an open snipe for that plant, and there are no plants available, as soon as you remove it, it will be gone. It will not be available to add back to your cart, no matter how quickly you try to do it.
Question 3: "I am currently 10+ in line on the snipe queue for a
plant. Does this mean it will be forever before I get one?"
The answer is probably NO. In fact, the answer could be that you get one as soon as the person 1st in the snipe queue gets one. There are three things to keep in mind here. First, the CP Jungle imports many plants at a time. In fact, the typical order quantity for any plant species / type is between 20 and 50. So don't let the position in the queue concern you, because if the vendor has enough plants available, we will bring in enough that everyone will get one, and will probably order extra. Second, a person higher in the queue than you must still check out within their allotted amount of snipe cart time. If they don't, the plant will roll down to the next person in the snipe queue. Third, keep in mind that as we ship orders to you, your customer class code may increase, which will cause you to possibly move up higher in the snipe queue for that item. Keep in mind that for non-rooted cutting plant sizes, we almost always are able to satisfy the quantities of plants on the snipe list.
Question 4: "When Do I Pay For Snipe Items"
Once an item has been sniped by the system, it will place it in your shopping cart. You will then need to perform a checkout within your allotted amount of snipe cart time. Once you checkout, the system will email you the order totals. At that point you pay for the items. Until an item has been sniped by the system, you owe no money.
Let me also add how we will handle an unfortunate instance of where a vendor shorts us a plant that we have confirmed. When a vendor confirms we have a plant available, we make that plant available for preordering. Once we get the import in, if a particular plant was shorted, then we will go through the list of people who ordered the plant and remove the plant from the order of the last person to have it added. We will then set up a snipe so that this person is 1st on the snipe queue, and will remain first on the snipe queue until another plant becomes available. So once a plant is put in your cart, if we have to remove the plant because we were shorted the plant by the vendor, then you will have a snipe set up and will be placed 1st in line in the snipe queue, and can not be bumped by any other snipe request.
That's it! It might seem a little confusing at first, but snipes are basically a list of customers who want a certain plant that we currently have no availability for, or that a vendor will be making available in the near future. As soon as an item becomes available, then the system assigns the items to each person on the snipe queue and automatically adds it to their shopping cart.
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Also, if you see any Exotica Plants or Borneo Exotic plants that we don't currently list that you would like to add as a snipe, just let us know and we will set those up. We will periodically go thru the list of available plants from these vendors and keep our catalog current with plants they have available.