Managing your data usage August 31 2013
Managing your data usage will help make sure you don't run out of data at the wrong time.
There are two ways to manage your usage, using an app or configuring your mobile OS. You can learn more about managing your usage at www.similicious.com/usage
We've tested two free data management apps that will help you manage your data, DataMan for iOS and My Data Manager for Android. If you have other recomendations or suggestions, please leave a comment.
Shipping with Similicious August 29 2013
Over the last few months we've learned a lot about shipping in Canada. What works, what doesn't and why we've chosen to do things a certain way. I thought I'd share some of that with all of you in case you're ever thinking about shipping in Canada.
When Similicious first launched we were Toronto only. We wanted to start small and learn as quick as possible how everything was going to work, what might cause problems and what wasn't going to work at all. We planned on operating like this for a little while before expanding our reach, start with Toronto then maybe Montreal and Ottawa, then eventually Vancouver and the rest of Canada. To bad none of that happened. Our first customer ever actually referred us to our second customer who was visiting Vancouver and wanted to use our service. So just like that we went nation wide!
We quickly learned how long it'll take for one of our letters to arrive to the East and West coasts via standard mail, registered mail and XpressPost. Because our service is time sensitive (our customers may only be in town for the weekend) it was crucial that the SIM card arrived before they did. Initially this was a bit of trial and error but we figured it out. But just as we were getting comfortable with this, our customers started asking for international shipping options.
A lot of our US customers like to drive in to Canada or simply prefer to have the SIM card when they land so they can do a quick switch from the airport and not skip a beat. A lot of our customers also prefer to order in advance so they have their SIM card weeks before their trip. So we added international shipping and again, we had a lot to learn but eventually we figured everything out.
One of the things we've always tried to do is make our service as affordable as possible, adding shipping costs gets in the way of this a little, but we're doing our best to provide enough options with a wide range of shipping features. One thing we've introduced is a SIM replacement guarantee if you select either a registered mail or XpressPost shipping option. what this means is that if for some reason the SIM card never arrives we'll ship another one for free right away using the fastest shipping speed possible. If you're in the Toronto area, we'll even courier it over to you.
Canada Post does a great job but sometimes things happen, mail gets lost or there's a clerical error.
We've recently had to change our shipping policies in regards to Canadian hotels, we no longer offer free standard shipping. The reason for this is that a lot of our mail arriving and our customers would show up at their hotel and the SIM card wouldn't be there even though we mailed it out with plenty of time. Initially we were getting pretty angry at Canada Post thinking they were losing our mail, it seemed like 10% of all mail sent to hotels was being lost, which is pretty high. We've switched to requiring registered mail for hotel deliveries as it gets some special attention and requires someone to sign for it, guaranteeing the hotel will receive it properly.
What I think was happening was they were receiving our package but they just assumed it was promotional mail or some sort of coupon pack, etc. Although we think our envelope design is pretty snazzy, it's easy to see why it could be overlooked and considered junk mail, I'm sure each hotel gets enough of it as it is.
The front of the envelope.
So that's a little bit about our shipping policies and how we've gotten to this point. Everything is working pretty smooth now but we're always looking for ways to improve it.
If any one wants to learn more you can reach me at adam [at] similicious.com
How Similicious was started. August 28 2013
Hello everyone, my name is Adam K. Bacsalmasi and I founded Similicious. I thought I'd write a short little blog post explaining why I started Similicious. I hope to add more blog posts in the near future and continue a dialogue about the ever changing Canadian mobile landscape.
It all started in October of 2012, my wife and I were on vacation in Paris and we found ourselves having to schedule a little time each day to go back to our hotel room so we can get online. I spent this time checking Twitter, my RSS feeds (I miss you Google Reader), email and reading news about how my Leafs were doing. My wife spent this time updating Instagram, checking Facebook and finding restaurants for us to go to on Trip Advisor. Once we were both done we'd fire up Apple Maps and locate our next destination then take a series of screenshots of the maps for reference when we left.
We both had iPhones (which we still carried with us at all times for some reason, although they weren't connected to any network) as well as an iPad and laptop with us, and I had to plug the laptop into the wired connection in our hotel room and create an ad hoc wireless network so we could both get online at the same time. The crazy thing is that we still had to pay $20 a night for 24hrs of internet service from the hotel.
The iPad I had brought with me was the cellular version, we had purchased it specifically for when we travel thinking we'd be able to purchase a local SIM card. The problem was I had no idea where to get one. I searched online but nothing made sense, plans were confusing, data was expensive (outrageously so) and I couldn't even figure out where to go to buy one.
When we returned home we had a bill from our local carrier, not for our regular mobile service, but for an account we created for my wife's parents who had visited for a month in September. They required some basic service while they were here, mostly some talk time in case of emergencies, nothing crazy, and no data. Since carriers do not allow accounts with non Canadian billing address, we had taken care of it for them. When I looked at the bill there was charges for two months worth of service even though we had cancelled the account before the end of the first month. As it turns out you need 30 days notice to cancel an account. So for about 20 minutes of local calling it cost me over $65 in service fees plus I had to buy a new SIM card, which was $15 at the time.
That's when I realized there needs to be an easier and more affordable way for travellers to get access to local mobile networks.
It took me a while to figure it out and get everything up and running, but that was the beginning of Similicious. We officially went live in January of 2013 and we had our first customer in March (thanks Sarah!) and we've been learning from all our customers and trying to adapt to the market ever since. I'm happy to say that we're approaching our 500th customer and we believe our service is getting better and better every day.
If anyone wants to get a hold of me you can reach me at adam [at] similicious.com